On the ground, in the air or at sea – the IDF’s women soldiers take equal part in protecting Israel at all times. The following positions are the most hardcore battle roles for women in the IDF:
1) Air Force Pilot:
Women can become everything from fighter pilots to airborne navigators after undergoing one of the army’s most prestigious courses. Just last month, a record number of five certified pilots, each specializing in a different field, successfully graduated the IAF Flight Academy. So far, 27 female soldiers have graduated and became IDF pilots.
2) Caracal Battalion Combat Soldiers:
The Caracal Battalion was originally formed to guard Israel’s southern border from the threat of terrorist organizations operating in the Sinai Peninsula. In 2004 the unit was officially recognized as a battalion, and today consists of a vast majority of women, who do everything from border patrols to ambushing enemy forces and thwarting the next terror attack.
3) Oketz (“Sting”) Unit K-9 Fighter:
The Oketz Unit is considered to be one of the most professional canine fighting forces in the world, both for their counter-terror methods and their treatment of dogs. Each soldier – both female and male – is partnered to a dog, whom they train to sniff out explosives, track down terrorists and neutralize hostile threats. The soldiers go into the field with their canine partners and do everything together, from searching terror facilities to chasing down an escaped criminal.
4) 76th Battalion of the Combat Engineering Brigade:
A vital part of the Combat Engineering Brigade, the 76th battalion is a unique unit which combines male and female soldiers whose job is to neutralize ABC weapons live in the field during battle. These soldiers go into the heart of enemy territory along with other combat troops during wartime, and help protect them from unconventional weapons.
5) Snapir (“Fin”) Unit:
Soldiers in the unit operate a small, speedy motorboat modified with an attached machine gun (called “the hornet”). Their job is to safegurd Israel’s civilian ports, especially from incoming ships, and to protect the IDF’s naval bases. Among other things, the soldiers’ duty is to dive under military vessels to ensure that no explosives or mines were attached to them. Both men and women serve in the unit, manning the motorboats and presenting the first line of Israel’s naval defense.