PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

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.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

Female soldiers take a “selfie” on their phone before the march begins.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

Soldiers march as the sun begins to slowly rise.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

A lone soldier (a soldier without parents in Israel) from Australia marches, proudly carrying the Israeli flag.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

A soldier holding an Israeli flag runs back and forth between companies relaying messages.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

A commander leads soldiers carrying a stretcher near the end of the march.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

Soldiers push each other along while others carry the stretcher.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

A company commander leads her officers and soldiers at the break of dawn.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

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.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

A commander instructs her soldiers before the ceremony begins.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

Soldiers stand at attention after receiving their orange beret.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

A commander gives one of his soldiers an orange beret at the ceremony.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

Soldiers pose together after receiving their berets.

PHOTOS: Female Combatant Soldiers Complete Their Training

Soldiers throw their berets into the air upon completing their eight month-long training.

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