In Israel, both men and women perform mandatory military service; three years for men and two for women. But some women willingly choose to become combat soldiers and serve side by side with men for three years, protecting and serving the country. Some of these woman, soldiers from the Home Front Command’s Combat Search and Rescue Brigade, recently completed their intense eight-month training and received their orange berets.
As of 2013, women make up 4.3% of all combat soldiers in the IDF (Zahal), and each year the number increases. The Combat Search and Rescue Brigade is one combat unit in which women serve alongside men. The following photos are from the soldiers’ recent beret march.
Female soldiers take a “selfie” on their phone before the march begins.
Soldiers march as the sun begins to slowly rise.
A lone soldier (a soldier without parents in Israel) from Australia marches, proudly carrying the Israeli flag.
A soldier holding an Israeli flag runs back and forth between companies relaying messages.
A commander leads soldiers carrying a stretcher near the end of the march.
Soldiers push each other along while others carry the stretcher.
A company commander leads her officers and soldiers at the break of dawn.
A soldier, serving as a company commander’s radio operator, smiles during her beret march. She later discovers that she is the “mitstayenet”, her company’s most exceptional soldier.
A commander instructs her soldiers before the ceremony begins.
Soldiers stand at attention after receiving their orange beret.
A commander gives one of his soldiers an orange beret at the ceremony.
Soldiers pose together after receiving their berets.
Soldiers throw their berets into the air upon completing their eight month-long training.