The pilot program was part of a growing trend of women filling combat positions in the IDF. In recent years the number of female combat soldiers has increased nearly fivefold, from 547 in 2012 to 2,700 in 2017. Last summer, some 1,000 women were inducted into the IDF to serve in combat units, the largest number to do so in the country’s history.
Female soldiers are currently permitted to serve as tank instructors.
Following the pilot program, the tank operators were absorbed as regular infantry fighters into the mixed-gender Caracal Battalion, where they will now remain until the end of their service.
Detractors note that some requirements for the female combat soldiers have been lowered — which they say is a sign that effectiveness is being sacrificed — and that servicewomen suffer stress injuries at a higher rate.
Image: Head of the IDF Armored Corps Brig. Gen. Guy Hasson, center, poses on a tank with the army’s first female tank commanders, who graduated their course on June 28, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)