Inicio NOTICIAS Israeli Army Inducts Third Mixed Gender Combat Unit

Israeli Army Inducts Third Mixed Gender Combat Unit

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Itongadol.- The Israel Defense Forces is expanding the number of female combat soldiers and establishing a third mixed-gender light infantry combat battalion. The first recruits for the new unit, which will comprise half of men and half of women, enlisted on Sunday. The battalion will be named Bardalas (cheetah) and will be deployed along the border with Jordan.

The commander of the Arava Brigade in the south, Col. Itzik Cohen, said that the first 50 female combat soldiers were inducted on Sunday, and a similar number of men will be inducted next week. They will undergo basic training at the Golani infantry brigade training base.
“The main challenges in the sector are its size – starting from the Dead Sea in the north, through the central Arava and southern Arava in the south. The weather conditions, both in the winter and summer, require different patterns of activity and methods of operation,” said Cohen.
Until now, only one battalion operated at any one time in the brigade’s sector, which is some 230 kilometers in length. These battalions were replaced regularly. After the soldiers of the new battalion finish their training, their Bardalas Battalion will be permanently assigned to this front – similar to the older mixed-gender Caracal Battalion, which patrols Israel’s border with Egypt.
“There is no terrorist activity in the sector, and we do not estimate there will be in the short term,” said Cohen.
The new international airport being built at Timna is scheduled to open in a year and a half, and the military has decided to build a border fence in the area, similar to that along the border with Egypt.
The army has noted an increase in the willingness of female soldiers to serve in combat units. A survey conducted by the IDF’s behavioral sciences department showed that 41 percent of young women drafted last November said they were interested in serving in combat positions before their induction. This represents a 13 percent rise in the willingness to serve in combat units by pre-induction women compared to 2013.
The IDF says the reason for the change stems from Operation Protective Edge in Gaza during the summer of 2014, as well as the media exposure that women combat soldiers, and their activities, have received.
The number of female combat soldiers serving in the IDF has increased greatly in recent years. Some 1,300 women were inducted in 2014 as combat soldiers, while only 900 women enlisted for combat posts in 2013. This year, about 1,800 women are expected to volunteer for combat units, and the IDF’s human resources directorate is planning on a record 2,100 female combat soldiers in 2016.
In addition to the new Bardalas Battalion, the army has several new plans for these women, such as preparing a new track for female combat medics, who will serve in armored and combat engineer units. The intention is for them to participate in combat operations and be part of the forward medical units in such combat units, said an officer in the ground forces command. “The motivation of the women combat soldiers is no less than that of the men, and sometimes is even higher,” he said.
At the same time, it has also been decided not to open certain combat jobs to women for now. The possibility of assigning women as drivers of heavy engineering equipment in the Engineering Corps in combat situations, such as D-9 bulldozers, was rejected after the army deemed such postings “not feasible.” The IDF examined assigning women to such combat roles, but reached the conclusion that this was problematic in the case of technical problems to the equipment, such as having to dismantle, remove and fix a tank tread, said the ground forces officer.

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