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How religious female soldiers are transforming the IDF

Female commanders of combat units in the Israel Defense Forces, especially religious women, are provoking apprehension among religious Zionist leaders in Israel.
Israeli soldiers of the Caracal battalion rest after finishing a 20-kilometre march in Israel's Negev desert, near Kibbutz Sde Boker, marking the end of their training, May 29, 2014. The "Caracal" battalion, two-thirds of whose members are women, was established in 2004 with the purpose of incorporating female soldiers in combat units. The main mission of Caracal is routine patrols on Israel's border with Egypt to intercept infiltrators and smuggling from the Sinai desert. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL - Tags:
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Anyone who has participated in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) activities of late, or even just covered those activities for that matter, will have noticed a growing presence of women in an increasing number of field positions, including combat positions. All around the world, the IDF is seen as a trailblazer. It is perceived as a liberal army, constantly opening new opportunities for women, who volunteer to serve in combat positions.

The air force already has dozens of women pilots and combat navigators. The navy has women serving on missile boats, while a Dvora-class patrol boat has a woman commander. The infantry can boast of four combat battalions made up of women, who serve mainly along Israel's quieter borders, while the Intelligence Corps has a particularly high number of women, including some who serve in challenging field positions. In February, the IDF announced the launch of a pilot program to train all-women tank teams.

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