Major-General Mordechai (Motti) Almoz, head of the IDF manpower division, told Channel 12 news Monday night that there is no need to open all the combat roles to women.
“I don’t want to be the one who fixes the problems of Israeli society,” Almoz stressed, and added that he did not think female soldiers should serve as combatants in the classic infantry brigades, such as the Paratroopers or Golani.
“In the end, a soldier has to carry 200 pounds on his back […] and go 8 miles with it,” he said.
“When I was a company commander, we had a female company clerk, and on the whole she got along very well,” Almoz explained his opinion on the limitations that must be placed on the service of women in combat units.
“Today, there are female company clerks, shooting instructors and physical trainers. Some places have additional female instructors,” he said.
Although Almoz said he was not concerned about calls to remove female soldiers from IDF bases, the critical voices regarding women in combat roles are increasingly vociferous. The IDF command is always searching for solutions, some of them at the thread and needle level.
One example is the combat vest, which was adapted for women in terms of pelvis design and weight. The IDF also found a solution to the issues of modesty during exercises: it will soon introduce a combination a tights and jogging pants, which will be mandatory for both sexes. The pants will be the same color and uniform length to the knee to prevent exposure of the thighs.
In Saar 6, the new corvette currently being built in a German shipyard, there will be a completely separate women’s section with beds, showers and toilets.
Almoz said he was not moved by stories like the one about the soldier who was restricted to the base for kissing his female fellow combatant, and insisted “things are under control.”
“Suddenly they started interpreting the rules very strictly,” he explained. “Wherever an explanation and admitting our mistakes are due, we’ll admit our mistakes and fix them, we will do it.”
This, mind you, could mean that a complete overhaul of the army’s policy on female soldiers’ combat service might come in the near future.