For the first time in IDF history, four female soldiers became tank commanders after they successfully concluded a 16-month-long pilot course for tank commanders, the IDF announced Thursday.
“The pilot program was designed to examine whether and how women can be integrated as tank fighters in the border defense system,” the IDF said in a statement regarding the first female soldiers to become tank commanders.
During the course, the female soldiers mastered loading shells rapidly and operating the tank’s brake pedal, which requires physical strength.
In July 2017, 15 women began the grueling training program within the Caracal Battalion, an infantry combat battalion composed of both male and female soldiers, after they were chosen through a tough selection process that identified “high levels of motivation” for combat service. Only four of the initial 15 completed the course.
The pilot program, which is almost identical to the tank commanders course male fighters are required to complete, except for the all-out war exercises, included basic and advanced combat training.
“The training stage was a success, both concerning the instructional and the operational aspect of the objectives set for the fighters,” said Chief Armored Officer, Brigadier General Guy Hasson.
“We did not make any allowances for the women. We did not compromise, and they know that. They did it like real warriors,” Hasson concluded.
Charlotte Davidovitch Peled, who is 20 years old and lives in Tel Aviv, is one of the four girls who successfully finished the course. She immigrated from England two years ago and wanted to enlist in a combat unit.
“I made aliyah to serve in the IDF, and I chose to be in combat. I believe that the IDF should give a greater opportunity to women in all combat functions in the army, even though our physiological structure is different from that of the boys,” she said.