The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) made history Dec. 5. For the first time since the founding of the State of Israel, 13 women completed the Tank Corps' training program and were authorized to serve as regular tank crew members in the forces protecting the country's borders. In just a few weeks, they will conduct their first operational deployment and "hold the line," as it is called in military jargon. In other words, they will be included in the round of troops protecting Israel's southern border. At the end of their deployment, the IDF will decide whether the experiment succeeded and if these young women really are capable of the arduousness of service that is demanded inside an Israeli Merkava tank.
The current assessment is that the decision will be positive and the IDF will officially open up the role of tank crew member to female combat troops. Just a few weeks ago, the commander of the IDF's land forces, Major Gen. Kobi Barak, told Al-Monitor, "We must remember that we are not talking about female tank crews that will be fighting in Lebanon or maneuvering with their tanks in hostile territory at a time of war. We are talking about tanks with all-women crews who will be deployed in the defense of Israel's borders with peaceful nations."