Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson
Female IDF combatants.

The IDF this week began the selection of female fighters for the elite Yahalom special combat engineering unit of the Engineering Corps, and Airborne Combat Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669, Kipa reported Tuesday. The IDF is scouting for 130 candidates to serve in these two units, and so far, 11 female candidates have been accepted into the initial formation process. The first enlistment will take place this April and another in November.

According to the report, the participation of some of the female candidates in the screenings was approved after they had been deemed close to meeting the required physiological demands, based on individual examinations. If they pass the screenings successfully, the women will be required to pass the training phases in all the pre-established criteria to serve in either special force.


All the female candidates who are found suitable will participate in the first women’s field training day next week. The event will test their suitability for the two special security after passing the initial physiological screening.

The IDF source cited by Kipah states that the selection of female candidates for service in the two units has been adjusted so that they won’t require changing the units’ operational standards.

Frankly, I have no idea what this last statement means. A March 2022 report of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) titled “Opening all combat positions in the IDF to women,” dealt with the complaint that using equipment that is not adapted to women’s physiology leads to excessive injuries. It cited the US Department of Defense requires that all branches of the military provide women serving in it with appropriate equipment (Dah – DI). The Australian army has a similar recommendation. Additional recommendations to reduce women’s injuries in combat service is to take care of them early (Double Dah – DI), with an emphasis on supplementing female combatants’ iron and calcium levels.

Other arguments suggest the integration of women would harm the functioning of the fighting units, including the claims that the integration of women would lower the professional level due to the lowering of the threshold for acceptance into the position; will harm the cohesion of the unit, which is based, among other things, on “brotherhood of men”; and women will not be able to deal well with combat situations and would harm the functioning of the unit.

The INSS recommends finding tests that have minimal bias while still retaining the ability to predict the women’s success on the job and to avoid tests in which there is a built-in preference for the physiology of men versus that of women, for example, tests that focus on hand strength versus flexibility.

Perhaps that’s what the IDF referred to when they mentioned adjusting the selection of women without changing operational standards. This is more commonly known as faking it.


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