IDF to increase women in combat roles in experimental trial

The move comes after four female recruits took to Israel's Supreme Court to gain the right to enter elite combat units


AZOZ, ISRAEL - MARCH 13: A soldier from the 'Karakal' Battalion ahead of a graduation march near the Israeli-Egyptian border on March 13, 2010 near Azoz, Israel. The Karakal is a mixed-sex battalion formed in 2004, with men and women serving together in this combat unit, based in the Negev desert on the borders with Egypt and Jordan. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

The Israeli military has announced that they're expanding the number of women serving in front-line combat roles in a new trial with several elite units.

In a statement posted online, the IDF said that following an assessment that found that including women in certain units would be possible, they would be expanding a trial and allowing women to join more units than before.

The two main units that will now be open to female recruits are Unit 669, a helicopter extraction unit and Yahalom, an engineering corps responsible for counter-terrorism operations and destroying smuggling tunnels.

Women have been allowed in some mixed-sex combat units since 2000, when the majority-female Caracal infantry battalion was formed. Today, women make up around 18% of combat roles across the IDF, compared to under 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 and opening up the possibility for them to serve in a wider range of positions has improved and will continue to improve the quality of the IDF,”

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