The Jerusalem Post
First all-female tank crew to be deployed near Egypt
Pilot program to train women in operating tanks began in 2018, graduating four commanders
A tank entirely staffed by female soldiers, including its commander, will deploy to the Egyptian border for the first time in Israel’s history.
The tank is set to be stationed there in the coming days, KAN reported on Wednesday.
The news comes despite the IDF’s continued uncertainty about whether or not the latest pilot program to integrate women into the Armored Corps has been successful.
The first pilot program, which was aimed at training women to operate tanks, concluded in June 2018 with four female soldiers graduating as tank commanders and two-thirds of the overall program successfully completing the course. However, in April 2019 the military announced that despite the seeming success of the trial program, it would not be continuing and the women who qualified would not be permitted to continue working with the corps.
An investigation was launched in early 2020 into whether the results of the trial had been intentionally distorted to make it seem like it had been unsuccessful.
In November 2020, the IDF began preparations for a second round of the program, with several changes including the height and weight restrictions on the women and the duration of the operational missions in which they will be participating.
The program is expected to conclude in 2022, and a decision will then be made about women in tanks.
The news received a mixed response, with Nimrod Israely, CEO of Biofeed Israel, responding on Twitter by wishing the female course graduates success and saying that “professionally they are excellent and that is what is important.”
Others were less enthusiastic. One irate response to the tweet called the pilot “an insult to the Armored Corps.”
The historic news is only one of the recent changes being made in the IDF in the name of gender equality.
In October of last year, the IDF announced that 10 female soldiers from the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps would make up a drone operating team within the previously all-male field battalion stationed on the northern border, enabling them to cross into Lebanon, something previously reserved exclusively for male soldiers.
IN A meeting held for International Women’s Day in March, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi announced his intention to increase the number of female senior officers by 50% over the next five years, and also directed that steps be taken to increase the number of women in the IDF’s technology- and cyber-related positions.
“I welcome the increase in the past few years in the number of women serving in the IDF and especially the increase in women serving in combat and technical positions and the increase in the amount of female officers,” said Kohavi at the time.
However, there are still those who are less than happy with the development.
Just several hours before the
news, United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev took to the Knesset plenum to warn against women serving in the IDF, saying it was not “human nature” for them to do so.
However, his view is shared only by a minority of the population, according to a Na’amat poll conducted by Geocartography
Knowledge earlier this year. The results showed more than 70% of the wider society supported the idea of women serving in combat roles, and only 11% held the belief that women should not serve in the IDF at all.
Eve Young contributed to this report.