After three years of trial periods, the all-women Combat Intelligence Company is now a reality in the IDF (Zahal)

Date: 02/11/2009, 1:15 PM     Author: Tal Moise

After three years of pilot testing, a new company in the Field Intelligence Corps has finally become a reality. This is not an ordinary company, as it is composed entirely of female soldiers. Their operational activities, named Nachshol, are planned for action in southern Israel.

At the beginning of the process of building the company, it was decided to recruit one cycle each year for the past three years. This decision was made in order to enable the IDF (Zahal) to train the girls, examine the operational capabilities of the company and the health conditions of the female soldiers. The company soldiers underwent their trial period in the south. “There were many successes during the time we were in the South. This emphasized the need for a Field Intelligence Collection company in the area,” explained commander of the company division, Second Lt. Shani Shkuri. “The transition to a division is a huge promotion and now is the time to prove ourselves. There are currently dozens of female combat soldiers in the company and the numbers will only increase. Without a doubt, this is a unique company.”

Leading up to the recruitment of March 09′, the company recently held a special day at Kerem Shalom in which they explained to the future combat soldiers about their roles. The conversation was held with the battalion commander, the company commander and the female combat soldiers of the company, while explaining the operation purpose of the company. “I understand the girl’s skepticism regarding their roles, because I was in their position three years ago. We tried to present their positions in the most realistic way,” said Second Lt. Shkuri.

A common question that came up on orientation day was; what is the difference between Field Intelligence Collection soldiers and the look-out soldiers who are positioned at observation posts? “The Field Intelligence Collection soldiers receive intelligence alerts on certain areas in the field,” explained Second Lt. Shkuri, who was responsible for organizing the conference. “In this situation we come to the field and examine it, find a good observation post and watch the area. If necessary, we also take action against the enemy while the look-out soldiers sit in the operations room and brief combat soldiers on the enemy positions in the field.”

Females who want the position of combat field intelligence must undergo a trial period prior to selection for the unit (gibush, in Hebrew). Afterwards, those who are recruited to the Nachshol Field Intelligence Collection Company will have to sign on an additional year of service (total of three years) and undergo combat basic training in the Combat Intelligence Collection Military School. “Serving as combat soldiers contributes greatly to the personality of the girls,” explained Second Lt. Shkuri, “The role gave me a sense of perspective, nothing seemed too excessive or impossible to achieve. This role is very conducive to character building. We are always under a magnifying glass and therefore we are required to be more motivated and invest more effort. However, the hard work eventually pays off.”