Women in the Israeli Army Essays

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Women have always played a very integral role in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), since its inception in 1948 shortly after the declaration of the State of Israel. The IDF is regarded as one of the most well trained armed forces in the world thanks in part to the progressive changes in the military with regards to equality for women. Historically, at the ground roots of the IDF, women were held back from combat and served mostly in a variety of support duties under the command of Chen (Women’s Army Corps). These support duties were extremely important to the functioning of the IDF, but did not satisfy those women who wanted a more active front line role. The aftermath of the Yom Kippur war in 1973 initiated a great change in military …show more content…
If the daughters of Israel are absent from the army, then the character of the Yishuv (Jewish Community in Israel) will be distorted” “Israel Defence Forces - The Beginning, Women in the Early IDF”. A female unit that was responsible for all the women who served for the country was created. This unit was called Chen which is the Hebrew acronym for The Women’s Army Corps. They took care of all the women’s needs, and supplied them with jobs in the immigrant neighbourhoods of Israel. They also served in many support positions such as signal operators, drivers, cooks, medical assistants, educators, and administrators. Ben-Gurion’s vision of equality did not prove to be true as women were restricted from active combat roles in the IDF. One of the main reasons women were not allowed to participate in active combat was for fear of being captured as a prisoner of war. The reality that women soldiers would become victims of rape and sexual molestation if captured was far greater than it was for men. Also, the very strict Military Laws developed at the beginning of the IDF clearly restricted women from participating in any combat situations. Sadly women in the IDF were stuck in support roles, despite the growing women’s liberation movement which re-emerged strongly in the mid 1960’s and carried forward into the 1970’s. The Yom Kippur war in
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