Israel Defence Forces to Create First Female-Only Unit

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitAn Israeli female soldier flashes a victory sign while siting in a military vehicle during an exercise in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.
An Israeli female soldier flashes a victory sign while siting in a military vehicle during an exercise in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.01.2022
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Until now, women could only join the Israeli Army on the frontlines by dropping into one of the mixed gender units as a part of their mandatory conscription. This fact apparently drove away some recruits who were concerned with upholding strict religious modesty laws from service on the frontlines.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is planning to create a women-only platoon as part of one of its mixed gender combat units guarding the country's borders with Jordan and Egypt, the IDF confirmed after the news was reported by the Kan news network.
The idea to create one stems not from a "social agenda", but from a practical need to attract female recruits who are willing to serve on the front line, but are unwilling to do so out of religious concerns, the IDF said. Heads of Israeli religious seminaries told the IDF that many of their female students were willing to join the Army, but were afraid to do so due to concerns they won't be able to uphold "strict modesty laws" in the presence of men in a combat unit.
However, it is unclear at the moment, when the new all-female platoon will start recruiting.
There are several options for religious people to serve their conscription in Israel, including the ones that do not require being on the frontline. However, so far women joining the Army have been in mixed gender platoons, while men have had the option to serve in male-only platoons – created for the same religious concerns as the female-only ones.
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With the addition of all-female platoons in the Army, religious Israeli women have thus received a new option to serve on the front line. Earlier, the IDF also established an all-female armoured Merkava IV company in which all tanks are operated by women-only crews.
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