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‘Price of women in IDF combat units outweighs benefits’ – Minister Kahana

CM 02/08/2021

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As the IDF continues to examine the option of recruiting women into various combat units previously closed to them, Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana has said he is against the idea because it would negatively affect the IDF’s goal of defeating the enemy.
“I think that the integration of women into combat field units is a mistake,” he said at the Besheva newspaper’s Jerusalem Conference, adding that “the IDF’s role is to defeat the enemy and not to advance social agendas.”
Kahana, of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, who holds the rank of colonel, served as a fighter pilot, squadron commander and was a soldier in the elite Sayeret Matkal special forces commando unit, said that while women can serve in certain roles, in others, they would not benefit the military.
“There are places where the combination is relevant and women can make a very large contribution such as fighter pilots, but it is not similar to infantry units where there is a huge difference in the nature of the service,” he said. “Just because there could be one soldier out of a thousand who can withstand the pressure of a fighter in the Givati brigade, the cost is greater than the benefit.”

Several women have petitioned the High Court of Justice to force the military to integrate women into elite combat units, including the Armored Corps, Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13, and other commando units such as Duvdevan.
Last July, the IDF said it had formed “a professional committee with the goal of seriously and thoroughly considering – from a wide, inclusive and in-depth point of view – the possibility of integrating women into additional combat positions in the IDF.”
The committee is led by the head of Ground Forces, Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick and OC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano.
Kahana told the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on Monday that while he was not against women going into battle, they do get injured far more than men.
Saying that he went to battle with women and sent women to battle “in the most dangerous places in the Middle East,” he added that nevertheless “for me, it’s not an issue, but all the studies show that mixed units do not perform as well, and women tend to get injured ten times more than men – orthopedic injuries, and others. I ask, how many women will have to be severely injured to create this equality?”
Last month, 15 female soldiers became the first to be deployed along the Egyptian border as part of a program to assess whether  to integrate women into the IDF’s Armored Corps.
The squad of all-female tank operators has was deployed with the Paran Brigade and served in the mixed-gender Caracal Battalion.
The women will operate Merkava Mk. IV tanks after they completed training at the Armored Corps School at Shizafon where they underwent advanced training. A previous, trial was deemed inconclusive. 
The second pilot program is at least twice the size of the previous one and the military has increased the height and weight requirements of women who want to take part in the program and has allocated more time for the women to be deployed as they carry out operational duties along the borders with Egypt and Jordan. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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