IDF says it will work to integrate women into tank unit in wake of lawsuit
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IDF says it will work to integrate women into tank unit in wake of lawsuit

Israeli army's announcement follows petition which was filed last week, claiming the refusal to allow women into the unit was a violation of equal rights

Israeli Merkava tanks are stationed in an open area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on October 19, 2018, after Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas pledged to launch an investigation into rocket fire at Israel earlier this week, in an apparent bid to calm fears of a new war. Photo by: JINIPIX
Israeli Merkava tanks are stationed in an open area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on October 19, 2018, after Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas pledged to launch an investigation into rocket fire at Israel earlier this week, in an apparent bid to calm fears of a new war. Photo by: JINIPIX

The Israel Defence Forces said it will continue to work to integrate women into its tank unit.

The IDF’s announcement came on Sunday 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, 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 part of a pilot program launched in 2017 to train all-female tank crews for routine security operations. But the all-women tank crews never were implemented, and the plan had been put on hold for budgetary and staffing reasons.

On Sunday, 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 armored 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.

A final decision is set to be made in 2022.

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