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Israel to allow female recruits into Elite Commando Unit for the first time

Israel Defence Forces announced yesterday their initiation of a programme to enlist female recruits into the military’s top-tier unit, known as Sayeret Matkal, along with two other units that were previously inaccessible to women.

The decision follows a High Court of Justice ruling in June that required the army to provide an explanation for its exclusion of women from certain units.

According to the army’s announcement, female recruits will have the opportunity to undergo a series of specialised physical and mental assessments at the end of the year, which may qualify them for potential service in combat roles within the Sayeret Matkal commando unit.

In addition, it intends to open opportunities for female recruits to join Unit 5515, which specialises in combat mobility tasks, starting in 2025.

The military is scheduled today to provide the court with its explanation for the exclusion of women from specific units, reported Haaretz.

According to the Times of Israel, the army is optimistic about having an adequate number of female recruits for both Sayeret Matkal and the combat mobility unit, due to an ongoing pilot programme that allows women to serve in combat roles within the helicopter-borne search and rescue Unit 669 and the Yahalom combat engineering unit.

Moreover, it will initiate a pilot programme next year for female soldiers to serve in the Armoured Corps.

Welcoming the decision, Forum Dvorah, an organisation advocating the inclusion of women in the decision-making processes of national security, said it does not yet fulfil the requirement of opening all 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.


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