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Women in Israel: In the Israel Defense Forces

Israel is the only country in the world that requires women to serve in the armed forces. This obligation supports the ethos of the IDF as the nation’s army and instills a profound sense that the entire society contributes to the security of the country.

Today, women make up 34% of all soldiers, 57% of all officers and 92% of positions in the IDF are available for female soldiers - numbers unparalleled worldwide. Additionally, eight times the number of women on active duty serve in reserves and females at the rank of Colonel has grown by 100% in the past decade.

Since 2012, the number of women in combat roles has been steadily rising.  In 2012, 600 women joined co-ed combat battalions, and the following year 1,365 joined.  This trend continues today: in 2017 more than 2,700 women were recruited to mixed-gender IDF battalions (an all-time high), compared with 2,100 in 2016.  

The number of religious, Modern Orthodox women in the IDF has seen a significant increase since 2010 as well.  Approximately 2,500 Modern-Orthodox Israeli women joined the IDF in 2017, as opposed to to the 935 that joined in 2010.  


Women in Combat Units