The Israel Defence Forces said it will continue to work to integrate women into its tank unit.
The IDF’s announcement came yesterday in the wake of two lawsuits filed with Israel’s Supreme Court by women demanding to be allowed to serve in tanks.
In a petition filed last week with the court, Osnat Levy and Noga Shina claimed the army’s refusal to let them serve as tank drivers is a violation of equal rights.
The women are graduates of a pilot program launched in 2017 to train all-female tank crews for routine security operations. Yet the all-women tank crews never were implemented and the plan had been put on hold for budgetary reasons and staffing shortages.
On Sunday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said the IDF would move to the next stage of the program in order to determine whether women can successfully integrate into the armoured corps.
He also said the military would deploy tanks with female crews inside Israel along the borders with Egypt and Jordan.
Among the issues to be dealt with are that not all of the women were able to lift the heavy equipment inside the tanks, or to lift the shells to load them into the tanks. The IDF said it will set physical criteria for the female recruits to ensure they can lift and carry the tank’s shells and equipment as a crew member, according to the plan.
A final decision is set to be made in 2022, the scheduled end of the pilot program.