TEL AVIV (Agencies): In a significant and historic move, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have announced their intention to initiate a programme allowing female recruits to join the country’s top-tier military unit, Sayeret Matkal, and two other units that were previously off-limits to women. The decision follows a High Court of Justice ruling in June that required the IDF to provide an explanation for its exclusion of women from certain elite units.
According to the IDF’s announcement, female recruits will be given the opportunity to undergo a series of specialized physical and mental assessments by the end of the year, which could qualify them for potential service in combat roles within the renowned Sayeret Matkal commando unit. Furthermore, the military plans to open doors for female recruits to join Unit 5515, which specializes in combat mobility tasks, starting in 2025.
Today, the military is scheduled to provide the court with its explanation for the exclusion of women from specific units, as reported by Haaretz. The IDF appears optimistic about attracting a sufficient number of female recruits for both Sayeret Matkal and the combat mobility unit. This optimism is rooted in an ongoing pilot programme allowing women to serve in combat roles within the helicopter-borne search and rescue Unit 669 and the Yahalom combat engineering unit. Additionally, a pilot programme is set to launch next year, enabling female soldiers to serve in the Armoured Corps.
Forum Dvorah, an organization that advocates for the inclusion of women in the decision-making processes of national security, has welcomed this decision. However, they assert that it does not fully meet the requirement of opening all military roles to women, as mandated by the Defence Service Law.
“The news today relates mainly to Sayeret Matkal, but there are still many units and roles that are closed to young women who wish to become combat soldiers. This is how opportunities remain blocked off to women to get to senior roles in the military’s operational division and in the decision-making process,” the forum’s statement added.
In Israel, mandatory military service lasts for two years and eight months for men, while women are required to serve for two years. This move toward greater inclusion of women in elite combat units represents an important step forward in ensuring equal opportunities and representation within the IDF.