Women of the IDF:
In 1999, Israel announced that women would begin serving as combat soldiers in the year 2000. According to a plan prepared by the Israel Defense Forces, female units would serve along the Egyptian and Jordanian borders and, eventually, take on the vast majority of border patrol duty.
The Caracal company, for example, is being trained to patrol the border for drug smugglers and terrorist infiltrators. This is a coed unit whose 200 female soldiers outnumber the men by 2-to-1. The elite commando K9 unit, Oketz, also drafts females as dog trainers and soldiers.
In early 2000, the IDF decided to also deploy women in the artillery corps, followed by infantry units, armored divisions and elite combat units. The Navy has also decided to place women in its diving repair unit. Altogether, at the beginning of 2004, about 450 women were in combat units.
Presently, female soldiers are trained and responsible for the many of the same duties as their male counterparts. Those recruited for combat units have to serve for 30 months instead of the current mandatory period for women of 21 months.
In 2001, the Air Force graduated its first ever female combat fighter pilot, Lt. Roni Zuckerman. Four years later, in 2005, a second female passed the intensive fighter pilot course and two other female soldiers graduated to serve as transport pilots. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, female helicopter pilots took part in missions.
In October 2011, the 27 female combat soldiers completed the IDF Ground Forces Officers Training Course along with 369 male soldiers and were promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. The new female officers serve in a wide range of combat units from artillery to Caracal and tanks.
In December 2011, the 163rd graduation ceremony of the Israeli Air Force Flight Academy saw five female pilots complete the arduous and elite program.
Israeli Government Press Office; The
Jewish Week, (January 2, 2004);
Bar Ben-Ari, "A Woman of Valor," Israel Defense Forces, (August 1, 2007);
"New Female Combat Officers of the IDF," IDF Spokesperson, (October 27, 2011)