Israel’s pioneering all-women tank crews to provide protection of country’s south

The all-female tank crews that the Israel Defence Forces will create this coming year will have the mission of defending the Egyptian and Jordanian border against intrusion by terror squads.

“The IDF does indeed require quality personnel in combat units, and it is always lacking in this respect,” Eitan Shamir, former head of the National Security Doctrine Department in the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and a research associate at the Begin Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, told JNS.

IDF Spokesman in English Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus told reporters by conference call last month that border defence is a paramount IDF operational requirement.

“We definitely need all of the qualified personnel that we can obtain, women included,” he stressed.

The new crews will serve in Israel’s main battle tank, the Merkava MK 4, which has active protection systems that intercept incoming anti-tank missiles and RPGs – just the type of weapons that adversaries like ISIS are armed with in the Sinai Peninsula.

They will serve under the IDF’s 80th Division, which protects the southern borders with Egypt and Jordan, in addition to the Red Sea city of Eilat.

The IDF saw great value and importance in the broader goal of incorporating women into combat duty, stated Conricus, saying that the development has brought great benefit for the military.


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