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L'armée Israélienne et souvent montrer comme exemple sur l'emploi des femmes dans les forces armées, au niveau de l'Otan également sur les questions de genres. Il n'y a pas que les différences physiques même si le terme "ouvrir les postes aux femmes" signifie deux critères pour un recrutement, les exemples ne maquent pas et les causes et conséquences commencent à se révéler. Un récent sur l'armée Israélienne qui pointent les différences :

New combat positions for women in the IDF, same old obstacles

As the army makes strides in increasing gender equality, both physiological and cultural barriers keep female officers from the General Staff

as more and more combat positions open up to women in the IDF, some roles will remain off-limits to the fairer sex — most of which are jobs that lead to the upper echelons of the arrmy

The Israel Defense Forces now has three mixed-gender combat battalions — Caracal, Lions of the Jordan and Cheetah (known in Hebrew as “Bardelas”). Female soldiers serve in field intelligence units. They “man” air defense installations and operate devastating artillery systems.

Women have gone into Gaza and West Bank cities. Female pilots have flown over enemy countries. If a war should again break out in Lebanon, female Israeli soldiers would go there too.

But there will probably never be a female commander of the storied Paratroopers Brigade or the roughneck Golani Brigade.

In the pre-state Haganah and in the IDF during the War of Independence, women served in a variety of combat roles, as the fledgling State of Israel needed all the fighters it could muster.

(Trivia buffs may know that famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer served as a sniper in the Haganah before she was seriously wounded by an artillery shell.)

But following the War of Independence, women were quickly shoved out of those combat roles and pushed into secretarial and other administrative positions, Lt. Col. Limor Shavtai told The Times of Israel.

Shavtai serves as the deputy gender affairs adviser to the chief of staff — the position known as the women’s affairs adviser to the chief of staff until February 2016.

Now female draftees are again being asked to pick up rifles and machine guns — and for the same reason as before: desperation.

“We don’t have much of a choice,” Shavtai said.

As army service for men was shortened from a full three years to two years and eight months, “there is now a gap,” she explained.

“That has forced the army to be more open in its thought process, more pluralistic, in order to think about what other positions can be opened up to women. Many of the obstacles are societal — they are cultural obstacles, not obstacles in terms of the woman’s ability,” added Shavtai.

“We don’t have any other choice,” she repeated.

Though the IDF is acting out of a need to fill these combat roles, the young women who serve in those positions are doing so out of an earnest desire to protect their country.

The most common reason given by these teenage women for why they want to join combat units is that they “want to have a meaningful service.”

In 2016, the United States military opened up all of its combat positions to women. As long as candidates passed the required physical examinations, they could serve in whatever unit they pleased. But the same phenomenon won’t happen in the Israeli army in the foreseeable future, according to Shavtai.

While female soldiers are filling more combat roles, there will still be a limit on what those positions can be, specifically as it relates to service in the IDF’s infantry brigades.

And those restrictions, along with other factors, prevent women from reaching the highest ranks of the IDF for the time being.

A meaningful service’

Despite the challenges and obstacles facing them, the desire and determination of female recruits is impressive, Shavtai said.

Unlike their male counterparts, who can be drafted into infantry units whether they like it or not, female recruits have to volunteer for combat positions. To boot, they have to agree to extend their mandatory service from two years to almost three.

And they have. The number of women requesting to serve in combat units has steadily increased since 2000.

In 1995, Israel’s Supreme Court accepted Alice Miller’s petition to try out for Israeli Air Force’s elite pilots course, which had been off-limits to women following the War of Independence.

Although Miller did not get accepted into the course, her court case paved the way for additional legislation to allow women into combat positions.

In 2000, Israel added section 16A to its Security Service Law, which stated: “Every woman of military age has the same right as a man of military age to serve in every position in military service.”

Today, approximately 92 percent of the positions in the IDF are open to female soldiers, and many young women are rushing to fill those roles.

It’s challenging and the most meaningful way to serve,” said Yael Elbaz, who was drafted into a coed combat battalion last year.

Some parents of the young women were nervous about sending their daughters off to potentially dangerous positions in the army, but most supported the decision.


“This was service that spoke to her. She wanted to be stimulated,” said Mark and Linda Barda, Australian immigrants to Israel whose daughter, Noa, joined the Lions of the Jordan Battalion.

“But we did encourage her to look at other options as well,” the parents added.

Body mass index

Though more women are serving in combat roles, positions in infantry and armored brigades have been deemed too physically demanding for female soldiers.

The equipment they have to be able to carry is too heavy, the distances the soldiers have to be able to travel are too far. At least this is what the IDF’s Medical Corps and the army’s gender affairs adviser to the chief of staff have determined.

These are not decisions based on women’s intellect, determination, or desire to serve. They are based on simple equations of body mass, muscle type, bone density and other physiological attributes, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Yuval Heled, head of the Institute for Military Physiology at Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center, told The Times of Israel.

“You need to be at this weight; you need to be able to run such and such a distance at a specific speed; you need to be able to evacuate a wounded soldier to such and such a distance; your muscle power needs to be that,” he explained.

Female soldiers have been shown time and again to excel in a variety of military and combat fields, including marksmanship and team building, but carrying a stretcher with an injured soldier on it 50 kilometers (30 miles) is not one of them.

“Physiologically, a woman is not necessarily suited for every position that a man is,” Shavtai said.

“We’re not prepared to open every position no matter the cost,” she added.

As it is, female combat soldiers suffer from stress fractures and other injuries at a dramatically higher rate than their male counterparts. In the IDF’s mixed-gender Caracal Battalion, 40 percent of the female soldiers had some kind of injury, and in the Artillery Corps, that number was close to 70%, the IDF revealed this summer in the army’s Bamahane magazine. Female soldiers suffered about twice as many injuries as the male soldiers in the same units did.

“The balance here is between, on the one hand, allowing women to serve in the best combat positions that exist, while on the other, fulfilling our primary duty, which is protecting the health of that human being,” explained Dr. Heled.

As such, the IDF is working to better prepare its female recruits for the physical tasks that await them in the army, giving them nutritional and fitness advice before they begin their service, Heled said.

However, some of those efforts to find only the most physically fit and suitable candidates are limited by budgetary and manpower restrictions, Shavtai said.

“Equality costs money,” Shavtai said simply.

While they are in the army, the IDF has begun providing female combat soldiers with lighter, better-fitting equipment — like helmets and bulletproof vests — that both better protect them and prevent some of the bone and joint stress injuries that plague female soldiers.

“You know what happens?” Shavtai asked rhetorically.

“When there are extras, the male combat soldiers ask for them. Because they are better than their old vests, they argue over who gets them,” she said with a laugh.

But the amount of specialized equipment the IDF can provide to female soldiers is limited by its expense.

In recent years, added Heled — who was involved in the research — the IDF has also reevaluated what exactly the fitness requirements for each unit are, in order to determine if women could serve in those positions.

“In 2008 or 2009 we started taking a list of professions — combat soldier, tank operator, infantry soldier, etc. — and we were asked to give a professional opinion on if it is possible [to integrate women],” Heled said.


“We took each of the professions and we did an analysis for each of the positions. None of them disqualified women, none of them. What it said was this: Here’s the criteria, not for a female combat soldier, but for any combat soldier in Golani, the requirements are X, Y, Z,” Heled said, using the Golani Infantry Brigade as an example.

While some of those positions were opened up to women, in light of those findings, others could not be.

“We gave them all the criteria. And anyone who can stand up to those criteria, can be a Golani soldier. The reality is that we don’t have any female combat soldiers in Golani. Maybe in the future there will be, but they’ll need to fulfill those criteria,” Heled said.

That a woman may never serve in — or lead — the Golani Brigade may seem insignificant, but those infantry and armored brigades are almost always the starting points of IDF generals’ careers.

This is a man’s army

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, his deputy, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, and almost every other member of the General Staff have at one time or another served as commanders of an infantry or armored brigade.

There are notable exceptions — including generals who have come from the air force or navy — but the path to the general staff almost always includes a stop at one of seven brigades — Paratroopers, Golani, Givati, Nahal, 188th Armored, 7th Armored or 401st Armored. (The IDF’s other infantry brigade, Kfir, was only officially formed in 2005 and thus does not yet have a general who wears its camouflage beret.)

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, never served as an infantry brigade commander. And in 2011, Orna Barbivai was named Israel’s first female major general, leading the army’s Human Resources Directorate until 2015, without having led a combat brigade.

But these are the exceptions.

Speaking at a Women’s International Zionist Organization event in January, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon pointed out this obstacle to the promotion of women within the military.

Asked if a woman could one day become Israel’s defense minister, Ya’alon responded: “Why not? A more difficult question is whether I can foresee a woman as chief of the General Staff.

“In our case, with our challenges, it’s not just tradition that the chief of the General Staff came from the ranks of combat roles.”

Though over 90% of positions are available to women, the remaining 8% present a serious impasse for the advancement of women in the Israel Defense Forces, as those combat positions are specifically the ones that lead to the army’s higher ranks.

Though there are relatively high numbers of female junior officers — approximately 40% of first and second lieutenants are women — as the ranks get higher, the percentage of females decreases.

As of last year, only 14% of lieutenant colonels in the Israeli army are women, and there are just four female brigadier generals, according to the IDF.

The number of female officers is rising and the IDF is putting more effort into encouraging talented women to remain in the army through a variety of programs, Shavtai said.

But the disparity between the number of male and female high-ranking officers will remain for years to come.

Advances, setbacks, new questions

In the 21 years since the Alice Miller trial, there have been dozens of female pilots. And in November 2014, Cpt. Or Cohen became the first woman to command an Israel Navy vessel, a Dvora-class patrol boat.

Ealier that year, in January 2014, Lt. Col. Oshrat Bachar became the IDF’s first female battalion commander when she took over as head of the “Eitam” Combat Intelligence Battalion.

But in the past two decades, there have also been setbacks in the advancement and integration of women into the military.

In 2015, just as it seemed like women would be able to serve as fighters, and not only instructors, in armored brigades, the army’s top brass rolled back their decision.

The degree of physical strain from the heavy tank shells and other equipment was the main factor that led the army to decide against integration, and less so the close proximity with men imposed by the tanks’ size, Shavtai said.

“The IDF’s chief medical officer determined that there was a physiological difficulty in that job. Everyone who serves in a tank requires a fitness level that allows them to lift a shell in order to load it into the cannon. And it’s very, very heavy,” she said.

However, the decision is still being discussed and there could be changes to that directive farther down the line.

“I think that [Israeli Aerospace] Industries and Rafael [Advanced Defense Systems] will want to create lighter missiles, and once that happens, it will be easier for me to integrate women [into the armored brigades],” Shavtai said.

Many of the societal and cultural obstacles that previously prevented women from serving in combat roles have already been shed.

In accordance with naval superstition, women are not supposed to enter the engine room of a ship so as to not make the ship jealous and angry. That superstition has been thrown out of the IDF, a naval officer said.

“How can you say a woman can’t go into the engine room, when a woman is the captain of the ship?” the officer asked.

But as more women enter combat roles, more questions will have to be answered, including some unexpected ones, like: What do you do with a pregnant combat soldier?

“They still don’t know how to handle women, in terms of pregnancy and birth,” Lt. Davir Mashash, a deputy company commander in the Home Front Command, told The Times of Israel over the phone.

“I see it like this, pregnancy is not a disease. If a soldier thinks she can keep working while pregnant, there’s no reason she shouldn’t be able to,” Mashash said. “The army needs to get with it.”

And in some ways, the army has.

The Israeli Air Force, for instance, reversed a decision that kept female pilots and navigators from flying while pregnant

“There are combat airwomen now and their needs must be addressed,” Lt. Col. Dr. Yifat Ehrlich, the commander of the IAF’s flight medical unit, told the air force’s quarterly magazine at the time.

But for ground forces, the ban on pregnant fighters remains.

“There are things that it’s better for them to happen in their own time, rather than being pushed through,” Shavtai said.

“I don’t want to be considered in the army as some bra-burning feminist because I’m not like that. And when I say ‘I’, I don’t mean me, Limor, I mean the Gender Affairs Adviser unit, I mean us. We come to show people when there are things that aren’t operating as they should. But not just to be difficult,” she said.

“And yet, if we see places where there’s no need for differentiation, no need for distinction, no need for the absence of women, then we come and we demand and we insist.”


- Comme le service militaire pour les hommes a été ramenée de trois années complètes à deux ans et huit mois

- Bien que plus de femmes servent dans des rôles de combat, les positions dans l'infanterie et des brigades blindés ont été jugées trop exigeant physiquement pour les femmes soldats

- Ce ne sont pas des décisions basées sur l'intelligence, la détermination, ou le désir des femmes de servir. They are based on simple equations of body mass, muscle type, bone density and other physiological attributes, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Yuval Heled, head of the Institute for Military Physiology at Tel Hashomer's Sheba Medical Center, told The Times of Israel. Ils sont basés sur des équations simples de masse corporelle, le type musculaire, la densité osseuse et d'autres attributs physiologiques, le lieutenant-colonel Dr. Yuval Heled, directeur de l'Institut de physiologie militaire au Sheba Medical Center de Tel Hashomer, dit The Times d'Israël

- «Vous devez être à ce poids; vous devez être en mesure d'exécuter telle ou telle distance à une vitesse spécifique; vous devez être en mesure d'évacuer un soldat blessé à tel ou une telle distance; votre puissance musculaire doit être que ", at-il expliqué.

- "Physiologiquement, une femme est pas nécessairement adapté à toutes les positions que l'homme est", a déclaré Shavtai.

- «Nous ne sommes pas prêts à ouvrir toutes les positions, peu importe le coût," at-elle ajouté.

- des soldats de combat des femmes souffrent de fractures de stress et d'autres blessures à un taux beaucoup plus élevé que leurs homologues masculins. Dans le Caracal Bataillon de l'armée israélienne, 40 pour cent des femmes soldats avait une sorte de blessure, et dans le corps d'artillerie, ce nombre était de près de 70%, les FDI ont révélé cet été dans le magazine de l'armée Bamahane. Les femmes soldats ont subi deux fois plus de blessures que les soldats de sexe masculin dans les mêmes unité

En tant que tel, l'IDF travaille à mieux préparer ses recrues féminines pour les tâches physiques qui les attendent dans l'armée, en leur donnant des conseils nutritionnels et de conditionnement physique avant de commencer leur service, Heled dit.

- En tant que tel, l'IDF travaille à mieux préparer ses recrues féminines pour les tâches physiques qui les attendent dans l'armée, en leur donnant des conseils nutritionnels et de conditionnement physique avant de commencer leur service, Heled dit.

- Cependant, certains de ces efforts pour trouver seuls les candidats les plus en bonne forme physique et appropriés sont limités par les restrictions budgétaires et la main-d'oeuvre

- Nous avons pris chacune des professions et nous avons fait une analyse pour chacune des positions. Aucun d'entre eux disqualifié femmes, aucun d'entre eux. Ce qu'il a dit était ceci: Voici les critères, et non pas pour un soldat de combat féminin, mais pour tout soldat de Golani, les exigences sont X, Y, Z, "Heled dit, en utilisant la Golani Brigade d'infanterie comme un exemple.

- Le degré de fatigue physique des obus de chars lourds et d'autres équipements a été le principal facteur qui a conduit l'armée de décider contre l'intégration, et moins la proximité avec les hommes imposées par la taille des réservoirs, Shavtai dit.

- Le degré de fatigue physique des obus de chars lourds et d'autres équipements a été le principal facteur qui a conduit l'armée de décider contre l'intégration, et moins la proximité avec les hommes imposées par la taille des réservoirs, Shavtai dit.

- «Médecin-chef de l'armée israélienne a déterminé qu'il y avait une difficulté physiologique dans ce travail. Tout le monde qui sert dans un char nécessite un niveau de remise en forme qui leur permet de lever une coque afin de le charger dans le canon. Et il est très, très lourd ", dit-elle.



Un autre article sur l'armée israélienne :

"First, the background. The IDF active force, including both regulars and conscripts, numbers 176,000 troops. Of those about 30% (58,000) are female. The mobilized force, reservists included, numbers 600,000 (on paper). However, since women in spite of recent changes in the law rarely serve in the reserves, their percentage in it is much lower. According to the figures, the total number of female “fighters” in the regular force is said to be 1,593. All are volunteers; unlike men, who are assigned, women only serve in “combat” if and when they want to. In other words, under 3% of female soldiers serve in “combat” units.

Women’s inferiority to men in respect to physical strength, aerobic capacity, endurance and, above all, robustness, is obvious to all. The price is paid by their male colleagues; when a female trainee in a mixed unit breaks down, as often happens, guess who is going to carry her and/or her weapons and pack? But the price women have paid for serving in “combat” units has been much higher. Many of the documents in question are classified so as to avoid angering Israeli feminists, an aggressive and often obnoxious lot, by presenting them with the facts. Some, however, have been published by a former student of mine, Colonel (ret.) Raz Sagi.

The picture that emerges is not pretty. Less than 3% of IDF “combat troops” are female. However, over the last few years they, or the lawyers acting in their name, have served 10-15% of the suits concerning compensation for injuries suffered while on “operational activity” (whatever that may mean). In proportion to their numbers, women sue three to five times more often than men. Sagi’s book bristles with interviews with young women who served as, or trained for, “combat” MOS and were seriously injured, sometimes for life. Such cases are brought before the courts almost every day.

{Colonel Sagi’s book, Women Fighting in the IDF, is available only in Hebrew. See this article for a summary.}"


"Now let’s take a closer look at what “combat” actually entails. The largest group, 442 out of 1,593, serve in three mixed battalions named “Caracal,” “Leopard,” and “Lions of the Jordan” respectively. In each of these they form 60% of the total.

It so happened that, a day after I completed this article, I watched a clip of artillery troops on a route march. The men, heavily loaded with equipment of all kinds, sweated, grunted and did their best to keep up. One or two female soldiers were marching along, carrying a much smaller pack and looking as if they were on a lark. Whatever they may have been doing there, clearly they were not being tested as the men were. (You can find the clip on Facebook.)

Neither the infantry, nor the armored corps, nor the engineers, nor the special units, which between them form the bulk of the IDF’s “teeth,” have any women at all. Scant wonder that, during Operation Protective Edge back in the summer of 2014, out of 66 Israeli troops who died not one was female.

Meanwhile the terminology has been changing. Having just celebrated my seventieth birthday, I can remember the time when the term lohem, meaning fighter or warrior, used to be the highest compliment anyone in Israel could receive. Nine cases out of ten, it referred to a soldier, a male one of course, who actually fired at, and was fired on by, the enemy. Now its female form, lohemet, also refers to all the above units, not one of which are meant to face an armed and trained enemy soldier able to fire back. Scant wonder that, in popular slang, the plural form of lohemet, lohamot, is often explained as meaning lo-hamot, “not-hot.”

Why does all this matter? For four reasons. First, as the term “not hot” implies, in Israel as in all other modern countries armed forces the presence of women has contributed to the decline in the prestige of those forces and, with it, their ability to attract high-quality male manpower. Presumably that is why the “Lions” (arayot, in Hebrew) battalion, in spite of being made up mostly of women, is not called leviot “Lionesses.” Or else surely any proper man would have shot himself rather than serve in it.

Second, in Israel as in all other modern countries that presence has led to “gender norming” and, with it, falling standards which, in case of war, could be dangerous. Third, as the above figures show, too many women who, whether out of idealism or sheer penis envy, volunteer to serve in “combat” units are injured, with bad consequences both for themselves and, since they have to be paid pensions, the defense budget. Fourth, outside Israel quite some people, being misinformed about the true state of affairs, still take the IDF as an example to follow."