Four female combat soldiers in the IDF Armored Corps who take part in a pilot project to integrate women into the military, will participate in a month in a Tank Commanders course, Israel TV reported Thursday.
The women fighters are scheduled to leave for the course at the end of their initial training stage, while their fellow participants in the pilot project will embark on operational deployment with the Caracal Battalion, under the command of male commanders.
The 33rd “Caracal” Battalion (named after a small cat whose males and females appear identical) is an IDF infantry combat battalion, one of only two fully integrated combat units in the Israeli military. As of 2009, approximately 70% of the battalion was female.
A military source said the pilot project to train female armored corps soldiers was a success. However, the decision to expand the pilot and allow women to join the Armored Corps will not be taken before three to four months of operational deployment have taken place.
But in view of the success of the female fighters in the training course so far, it appears that the integration of female combatants in tank units will eventually be accomplished.
Critics of the ongoing effort of the IDF command to increase and diversify the presence of female soldiers on the battlefield has been the subject of much criticism on medical, social and religious grounds. So far, the greatest harm from the experiment appears to be long-term injuries to female soldiers that far exceed the number of injuries sustained by male combatants – and the subsequent degrading of training standards in the co-ed battalions intended to cater to the lower physical ability of female warriors.