IDF celebrates International Women’s Day

With the largest percentage of women worldwide, the IDF (Zahal) works daily to integrate women guaranteeing equal opportunities and 92% of positions open to female soldiers

Date: 08/03/2012, 11:34 AM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

The IDF (Zahal) is a global pioneer in the integration of women and provides an example to be emulated, with its guarantee of equal opportunities, treatment and positions. Equality and human dignity are fundamental values leading the IDF (Zahal) in accordance with the ‘Spirit of the IDF (Zahal).’

Over the years the IDF (Zahal) has made significant strides in the advancement of women in its ranks while maintaining a secure and respectable environment.  These strides are a part of a long process intended to remove barriers surrounding the army and which are expected to be further improved in the coming years thus strengthening the standing of the IDF (Zahal) as an army of equality, efficiency and quality and one which makes use of all of its human resources.

Today the IDF (Zahal) is legally obligated to allow women to serve in any position, alongside male soldiers, as long as its character permits. Today more than 92% of the positions in the IDF (Zahal) are open to women and they are able to be integrated into approximately 14 combat positions.  Women today represent about 41% of the officers in the conscripted army and about 12% of the officers in the regular army and about 12% of the total IDF (Zahal) personnel.

This year the IDF (Zahal) Chief of Staff has approved a plan called “From Sector to Gender” whose purpose is to change various definitions so as to make the IDF (Zahal) a truly equal environment accessible to all.

The State of Israel is the only country in the world where there is mandatory military service for women.  In effect women are integrated in all activities of the IDF (Zahal) beginning with its founding, planning, and active participation in the defense of the country.  Percentage of women in the IDF (Zahal) – 34%- is the highest in the world and almost doubles that of the next leading army Hungary -17.6%.

Unlike most Western militaries the IDF (Zahal) is based on obligatory conscription for men and women highly motivated to take on combat positions. Additionally, the IDF (Zahal) is an army that is required even today to defend the State of Israel and is found in one of two states: combat or preparation for combat.

Serving in the IDF (Zahal) today are 26 female Brigadier Generals, 4 Generals and 1 Major General-Orna Barbivai, the head of the Personnel Division of the IDF (Zahal).  This represents a significant breakthrough in the assignment of women to senior position in the IDF (Zahal), representing an example and ideal for every woman. This further supports that every opportunity for advancement is possible and even more so encouraged.