Women & Special Forces

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The history of women in the combat roles in the IDF can be divided into three key periods:

  • 1948 - War of Independence - women in full combat status

  • 1948-Late 1990's - no women allowed in combat roles

  • Late 1990's - combat roles are gradually opened women

As an army created at a time of war, when it was first formed in 1948 the IDF used warriors regardless of gender. After the war and until the late 1990's no woman were allowed in combat roles, except for an isolated attempt in the 1950's to allow women enrolment at the IAF flight school. In 1996, following an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, the IDF was forced to allow women to apply for the IAF flight school. Additional Supreme Court appeals as well as pressure from legislators forced the IDF to gradually additional combat roles for women.

Today woman soldiers can be found in combat positions in the following units:

Regular Units


  • Artillery

  • Anti Aircraft Defense

  • Combat Engineering

  • Air Crew

  • Helicopter airborne mechanics

  • Naval officers

  • Light infantry

  • Combat Intelligence Collection Corps.

  • Military Police

Israeli Border Guard


Israeli Police


SF Units


  • Unit 669 airborne paramedics: typically stay in the helicopter and provide medical assistance, while their men counterparts deploy from the helicopter to conduct the rescue.

  • Snapir: combatants operating in a similar manner to their male counterparts.

  • YALTAM: combatants operating in a similar manner to their male counterparts.

  • Oketz: non combatants - female operators participate in civilian SAR missions; combatants - female operators receive extensive combat training and are placed in checkpoints in the Territories to conduct weapons and explosives searches in vehicles and on personnel.


  • Nachshon: combatants similar to their male counterparts

  • Dror: combatants similar to their male counterparts

Oketz female operator and her dog.

Introduction Guide