Israel's Fierce Female Fighters
Updated: Apr 29
Women have served our country in many ways over the years with one of the most influential being a part of the Israeli Defense Forces. And they definitely deserve a big shoutout!
Let's dive into the history and learn about the development of these brave IDF women!
Did you know that Israel is actually one of a few countries in the world with a mandatory military requirement for women?
About 65% of Israeli women serve in the army! And while women can get a ptor (an exemption) from the army for religious reasons, most religious women who choose not to do the army, choose instead to do Sherut Leumi (National Service) volunteering in organizations all over Israel for one or two years. The women of Israel are just as committed to serving our country with passion and strength!
Women in Pre-State IDF
Israeli women have been the country's backbone long before the Independence War. The Haganah, Israel's underground army before independence, had women fighters all the way back to its establishment in the 1920s. At some point, a third of the Haganah's elite force, the Palmach, consisted of women, which was primarily a combat force! Later on, during the Second World War, Jewish Israeli women enlisted in the British army and did their part in the war as well. Talk about girl power!
Women in the War of Independence
On 26, May 1948, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion officially created the IDF as Israel's army. Later that summer, he initiated a mandate for all married and single women without children, and between the ages of 18 and 28 to draft into the IDF.
In the earliest stages of the IDF, women served under the Women’s Corps in many positions, including nurses, signal operators, drivers, clerks, and cooks. The Women's Corps even sent young female soldiers to teach in developing areas and the immigrant neighborhoods of Israel!
A Few of Israel’s Notable Female Soldiers
Alice Hatzor-Hirsch was about 16 when she joined the Hagana. In 1942, she joined the British army as a driver, a step of beautiful boldness at the time.
Yael Rom was the first female pilot trained by the Israeli Air Force, earning her wings in 1951, just three short years after the state was formed.
Hava Inbar was a lawyer who was appointed the first female judge in a military court in the world. Her appointment has proven the IDF's total commitment to opening as many doors to its female soldiers.
Equality in the IDF
Female integration into the IDF has been continuing and developing all the time. The IDF now has women combat fighters, officers, pilots, and many more women in positions that once seemed impossible for them to reach.
In 2014, the IDF saw even more firsts for women soldiers. Major Oshrat Bacher was appointed as Israel's first female combat battalion soldier and Dr. Shani became the IDF's first female combat doctor in Duvdevan, an elite counter-terror unit.
Up until the beginning of the 21st century, Israel was the only country in the world, alongside Eritrea, that had mandatory female conscription into the army. Since then, a few other countries have joined this unique list (including North Korea), but it just shows what an international beacon Israel is to the world in its progressive values!
We are proud to say that in Israel, we ALL do our part in protecting the State of Israel!