Female trials begin across two elite IDF combat Units

It comes amid plans to expand front-line roles for women after recruits threatened legal action


Trials for female recruits across two frontline IDF units began this week as part of a long-term move to admit more women into male-dominated combat roles.

Trials will take place for Unit 669, the Israeli Air Force’s search-and-rescue unit, and Combat Engineering Corps’ Yahalom Unit responsible for counter-terrorism operations and destroying smuggling tunnels.
It is anticipated that this year’s Yahalom Unit trials will involve a cohort of 130 potential female recruits. Successful recruits will be enlisted either in April or November 2023.
A total of 11 female candidates have been approved to undertake the Unit 669 admission trials after undergoing a review of their medical and physical state.

The military stressed that a number of recruits had been permitted to partake in the trials after receiving evidence "that they were close to meeting the physiological requirements”.

Those who complete IDF trials must also fulfil a series of training requirements before they are officially recruited to a unit.

The military admitted that the female trials for the units had been modified “in order to maintain the IDF’s operational standards,” but no details of the changes have been publicly released.

Women have been allowed in some mixed-sex combat units since 2000 when the majority-female Karakal infantry battalion was formed. As of 2021, women made up around 18 per cent of combat troops in the IDF, compared to less than five per cent in 2014.
The move to integrate more female soldiers into elite units comes after four female teenage recruits attempted to force the military to allow them to enlist in men-only units, by starting proceedings against the IDF in Israel's High Court.

The IDF responded to the complaint by saying they were already taking steps to examine "increasing the percentage of women in all positions."

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