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Things to Know About Women In The Israeli Defense Forces

Even before the establishment of the state of Israel, the country had always taken pride in the central role women played in military organisations.

Mandatory military conscription is set in stone by the Israeli Defence Service Law of 1949 and was the first army in the world to introduce compulsory military service for both men and women. Since the very beginning Israeli women have been taking on a prominent place on the front line.

Here are a few things you need to know about women in the Israeli Defence Forces:

1. All Jewish Israeli citizens are required to complete national service at the age of 18. They must serve a minimum of two years in the armed forces. For women, military conscription is compulsory between the ages of 18-20.

2 Women who were part of the IDF have played a major role in the units fighting the Nazis and have also served in Israel’s 1948 war for independence.

3 According to New York Times, more than 92 per cent of I.D.F. jobs are now open to women — they are fighter pilots, infantry officers, naval captains and Humvee drivers; just 3 per cent serve in combat roles.

4 Israeli women are extremely passionate about serving in the military. In 2001, position of Women’s Affairs Advisor was created to ensure more women are recruited into the services.

5 In January 2014, IDF Maj. Oshrat Bachar made history after she was appointed as the as Israel’s first female combat battalion commander.

6 Male dominance in the higher echelons of the military pose an impediment for women. Miri Eisen, a retired colonel who spent 20 years in the Israeli military, toldNPR, that the role of women in the higher ranks is very limited.

7 In 2014, Israeli-born, New York-based photographer Mayan Toledano, documented the daily lives of young female Israeli soldiers. Toledano who was a part of the army, talks about how young women struggle with identity crisis through two years in the army.


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