The IDF (Zahal) continues to draft more women into combat with the opening of a new coed battalion.
150 recruits drafted to the newest IDF (Zahal) coed combat unit last week. The new unit will be under the IDF (Zahal)’s Central Command, and their operations will be centered in the Jericho area, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.
The new unit will be permanently stationed in the Southern Jordan Valley. “There have always been soldiers that deployed here, but our advantage is that this area will be our home base. We’ll have an in-depth knowledge of the area and a close connection to all security personnel operating in the Jordan Valley. These two advantages are a significant force multiplier, and will make us much more operationally effective,” says Lt. Col. Nir Dofet, the battalion commander. “
“The first commanders and combat soldiers in the unit will know the region the way they know their childhood neighborhood, the places they biked to, and the way home from school,” said Lt. Col. Dofet. “The unit will improve the IDF (Zahal)’s ability to monitor the area and will be integral in keeping the region quiet.”
The new coed combat unit, along with the Lions of the Jordan Valley, Caracal, and Bardelas, will comprise the newly formed Border Defense Force. Many of the commanders in the new unit originally served in one of the three other coed units. “They have experience dealing with similar challenges. They’re familiar with the unique missions assigned to the IDF (Zahal)’s coed units. It’s a significant advantage,” Lt. Col. Dofet explained.
Being part of the Central Command, the new unit will also take part in day to day security in Judea and Samaria if needed. “The unit will be another helpful tool in fighting terror,” said Lt. Col. Dofet. “We understand that the reality demands that we be agile. We need to be mission-oriented and dynamic, and to adapt ourselves to any mission we are given.”
The creation of this unit continues the trend of the IDF (Zahal) making combat jobs accessible to women, while taking operational and medical considerations into account. Currently, women make up 5.7% of the IDF (Zahal)’s combat manpower. In the past five years, there has been a 350% increase in the number of women serving as combat soldiers.
Later this month, the IDF (Zahal) Armored Corps will be conducting a pilot of women serving in combat roles. This pilot will further increase the 85% of IDF (Zahal) jobs currently available to women.