Israeli Women in Combat Postions

In February of 2012 the Pentagon in the United States made a big announcement stating that it was opening up more combat positions to women in the U.S Military. In these 14,000 positions, it includes tank mechanics and frontline intelligence officers. Yet, nearly one fifth of active-duty military positions still remain off limits. These include infantry, combat tank units, and special operations commando units.

Changes like this do not go far enough according to California Representative Loretta Sanchez, who called it “ridiculous” to open a few positions at the battalion level and create a pilot program. Yet it can go to far for others like former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who worries women fighting in combat could compromise operations since “men have emotions when seeing women in harms way.”

Some say it may be useful to study countries where women are already allowed to fight. A country with this example is Israel. Here women are allowed to fight on the frontline in certain combat positions. Israel is also one of the few countries who unlike the United States draft women and the policy is evolving.

Israel began allowing women in combat units after 1995 when a 23 year old South African immigrant who arrived with a pilot’s license from her native country was denied entry into the Air Force. She then sued for discrimination and since this the Israel Defense Forces has gradually integrated more units in compliance with the Supreme Court Order. Only 12 percent of military positions in Israel are off-limits to women, including combat positions in the armored corps and infantry. Yet women can service in light infantry, artillery and border patrol roles.

Also, according to findings in Israel, there are also reports that the IDF often doesn’t accept women for units for which they are eligible and evacuates women during combat situations. Women comprise only 33 percent of the IDF due to a shorter length of service and a more lenient discharge system for religiously observant Jewish women.

It is very surprising that the role of women in the military service is at such great debate in a world where women and men are supposed to be seen as equals. It is even more surprising that the United States a world leader in most circumstances has such a different view compared to Israel, where women are allowed more military positions. It is also very shocking that women in Israel are drafted and women in the United States are not. Everyone in Israel has a certain number of years to serve their military. Maybe this is a reason that women are granted more positions in the Israeli military.

So why are there so many less positions available to women in the United States? It seems that country so diverse and so flu of equality would be open and willing to give women a fair chance in the military. Why is Israel so much more lenient about giving women these positions? Is it really due to more women in the military or are they just more open about this issue.


2 thoughts on “Israeli Women in Combat Postions

  1. In terms of the U.S. military, I feel that the 14,000 positions granted to women are more for political reasons, it seems from Rick Santorum’s comment that it is hard to except women into the front line for emotional reasons, but i’m not buying it. How would the U.S. look if women were not allowed to fight in the military while in Israel only 12% of military positions are off limits to women. Although Israeli women only make up 33% of the military and are given certain privileges for religious ceremonies, they are still allowed in combat, while in the United States nearly 1/5 of military positions are off limits to women. It is great to see that Israel has given females more rights to serve in the Army and I hope that the United States will eventually loosen its regulations as well.

  2. Women in the military have been a long debated topic that goes back to the creation of our military. It seems to have been a separate issue outside of the typical equal right’s discussions. Women have fought for equal rights and representation for centuries and have made significant head way. But as noted in the blog, the military is one difficult topic because the reasoning behind many of the limitations is to protect the women and men serving. Many believe that women are not physically capable of meeting the demands of the front lines, or they would cause distractions to their male comrades that have a natural pull to keep women out of harm’s way.
    My belief on this issue is to look at the purpose of our military and what every soldier signs up to do. Our military is there to protect our freedoms and the soldiers who pledge to personally defend that are willing to make that sacrifice. Male or female, they enlist for the same purpose. If they decide the front lines is where they want to be, there should be a universal procedure to test their capabilities of adhering to the front line’s demands. That testing process should be based on physical, mental and emotional strength, sexuality aside. If they prove their competence, the opportunity to defend our country should go to any person who can successfully do so and willing to make that sacrifice and commitment, male or female.

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