Women in the military is not a new concept in Israel. Women have served in military capacities in Israel since before the founding of the State back in 1948.
In the Israeli Military
Israel is a small country with a small population. With enemies on all sides, constantly threatening her, the IDF needs to be fully staffed at all times. As the dangers grow, so do the needs of the army. Women, who make up more than 50% of the Israeli population are needed to serve just like the men.
Israel is a Jewish society with a big traditional population. Yet there also is a big population with more liberal-minded values. Much of the traditional Jewish community in Israel views women serving in the army as something to do only if needed. However, the liberal side of Israel sees it as a form of equality for women.
Israeli women mostly serve in all units across the Israeli army. Yet there still exists societal tensions regarding the issue of women serving in all units of the army.
The most contentious issue is whether women should serve in mixed combat units. To many it is undeniable that there are certain roles in the army that women excel at more than men. This especially applies to detail-oriented roles. However, there is a big debate about combat roles. Nobody denies that some women are capable of combat roles. But some argue that combat roles are not appropriate for women. And mixed combat units introduce a sexual tension to a situation where this natural distraction is detrimental to the soldier’s key role of protection.
While the IDF continues to pursue an agenda of integrating women in the military, society continues to debate the most effective way of doing so. It should be done in a way that benefits the women seeking meaningful roles in the army as well as the army, seeking to be the best army it can be.