Israeli army hopes to enlist more women

Thursday, March 08, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

As Israelis mark International Women’s Day on Thursday, the army is working on passing new legislation to limit the number of military exemptions, especially those teenage girls receive.

Annually, 42 percent of Israeli women ask and receive military exemptions, claiming that they are religious and cannot serve in this environment.

One officer said the legislation seeks to put an end to the low number of females serving in the army. Changes in the law would make it more difficult for girls to claim a religious standing.

While females make up 30 percent of the Israeli army, only 1,000 to 1,500 serve in combat units. Females are now enlisting in Field Intelligence Units and the army hopes to offer new opportunities for them to join infantry and artillery units.

The Israeli army’s Chief of Staff's adviser for women’s affairs is working on creating opportunities for women to climb military ranks. Today, there are three female brigadier generals and 20 colonels, but that number has remained the same for the past several years.

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