The Israel Defense Forces Artillery Corps has opened its elite unit to female soldiers for the first time. While female soldiers have plays a supporting position of artillery combat units for well over a decade, this marks the first time that the elite unit will be accepting female soldiers.
Six female soldiers from last August’s draft class passed the physical aptitude tests that allow them to join the elite Moran, Meitar and Skyrider units, part of the Artillery Corps’ David’s Sling Formation.
The skyrider unit is one of the unit’s in the IDF that uses drones. This unit’s mission is to gather intelligence from hard to reach locations and the soldiers often have to carry extremely heavy equipment for long periods of time.
If the women decide to continue on into these units they will need to commit to three years of military service, the same term that men serve. Normally, women are only required to serve two years in the IDF, unless they are part of a specialized unit, such as these.
Female soldiers wishing to serve in elite combat units have already had a number of options open to them, such as serving as a naval commander, air force pilot, anti-aircraft divisions, combat intelligence, combat search and rescue, the Owl division of the engineering corps and the K9 Oketz unit attached to Golani as well as the technological combat unit.
This is the first instance of female soldiers being allowed into elite combat units in the armored divisions.
In the last year, it has been reported that there has been a 64 percent rise in women volunteering for combat roles in the IDF.
As reported in Israel Hayom, “According to Artillery Corps base commander Col. Yuval Ben-Dov, the military’s combat fitness department adapted the physical standards required for the elite units to make them suitable for women. As a result, the men in those units will be required to meet the same standards, rather than more rigorous ones. Military regulations were also adjusted to enable the entry of women into the units.”
“If, for example, women are required to have seven hours of sleep [according to military regulations] and men are required to have six hours, everyone will get seven hours of sleep,” Ben-Dov said.
The Meitar and Moran units operate precision-guided munitions, such as the Tamuz missile.
Ben-Dov said, “the majority of the jobs in these units require strong mental fitness, and for that, there is no difference between women and men.”