Israel Defense Forces has seen a huge surge in enlisted female soldiers interested in joining combat units since the Iron Swords war began in early October, the Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.
Over the past week, the army said female draft attendance was above what it had initially planned for in the various approved combat units.
Female draftees' participation currently shows that Air Defense is at 101%; border patrol units at 116%; Border Police at 119%; rescue units are at 122%; artillery at 132%: and units that handle battle-related intelligence collection at 133%.
The IDF says 12% of women who are joining combat units requested to change their placement to fighting positions since the war began raging between the Hamas terror organization and Israel.
In Israel, women are currently not permitted to serve in tank units involved in combat or deep within enemy territory. However, on Oct. 7, the all-female tank unit was called upon to aid in defending the southern border communities and fought valiantly, which has garnered positive attention within Israel and abroad.
The all-female tank unit, part of the IDF’s Border Defense Corps light infantry battalion, is stationed on the Israeli-Egyptian border. On the morning of Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists and their accomplices breached Israel's southern border – brutally slaughtering 1,200 people and abducting 240 others to the Gaza enclave – these women fought for six hours, killing dozens of terrorists and saving residents of the Kibbutz Holit community.
On Wednesday, the IDF said that two female recruits had completed screening tests for the Air Force’s elite Unit 669 – a first for female soldiers to be included in the training for the helicopter-borne, search-and-rescue force. The two women are expected to be drafted to the unit later this month, where they will endure 20 months of training and if they succeed, they will be the first female soldiers in Unit 669.
In May 2022, after an appeal to Israel’s top court, Unit 669 opened its ranks to women.
In November 2020, four female recruits appealed to Israel's High Court of Justice, demanding that women be allowed to serve in any IDF units men serve in, including elite units like the top commando unit Sayeret Matkal and Unit 669.
This past June, the High Court of Justice demanded the IDF explain why it had not made all units open to women. Later, in September, the IDF announced that women would be able to join Sayeret Matkal, as well as two other units that were previously not open to them.
The combat mobility unit 5155 is also slated to open to female recruits starting in 2025, as long as the IDF has enough female soldiers who pass the various screening tests. The unit performs special driving-related operations and frequently works in tandem with other elite units.
In addition, the IDF said it plans to begin a pilot program for female soldiers to serve in the Armored Corps division sometime in 2024.
Critics of gender integration claim it is a dangerous social experiment with potential consequences for national security and the standard for some requirements for female combat soldiers has been lowered, impacting efficacy. They also object that females serving in the IDF suffer higher rates of stress injuries.
However, supporters generally feel it is a past-due necessity that has already been enforced in many Western countries.
The army said the practical need for more soldiers in combat units is what is pushing the current changes, rather than any social agenda.
On Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists rampaged Israeli border communities, female soldiers were murdered and taken hostage alongside their male servicemen.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.