IDF mulls opening more combat jobs to women

Monday, April 30, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently appointed a committee to study the possibility of allowing women to join front-line combat units, The Associated Press reported on Sunday.

Successive court cases over the past several decades have already opened the doors to most IDF units for female recruits.

A number of women participated in the Second Lebanon War as artillery gunners, air force pilots and support crews, and sailors.

But until now, combat infantry, armor and special forces have been sole domain of male soldiers.

Committee member Naomi Chazan, a former left-wing lawmaker and celebrated Israeli feminist, believes it is vital to women's position in Israeli society to let them join those units, too.

"If the army consciously creates inequality on any basis, these values get into Israeli society," said Chazan.

But in addition to other concerns, the death of a female soldier last summer in Lebanon rekindled debate over whether or not the Israeli public is ready to accept female combat casualties as a regular occurrence.

Keren Tendler, a flight technician on a transport helicopter shot down by Hizballah, became the focus of a major 36-hour operation by IDF rescue units to prevent her body from falling into enemy hands.

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