While the debate regarding opening additional combat roles to women continues, female and male combat soldiers will take the IDF oath of allegiance this evening at the Western Wall side by side for the first time.

Caracal soldiers (archive)

Caracal soldiers (archive) Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/Channel 2 News

For the first time in the IDF’s history, female and male combat soldiers will have their oath of allegiance ceremony at the Western Wall together at 6:00 PM this evening (Wednesday). These soldiers enlisted into the IDF’s Caracal Battalion, which is a coed infantry combat battalion, in November 2016. This is the first time that male and female soldiers will take the IDF oath of allegiance side by side at the Western Wall.

In the past few years, the number of female combat soldiers in the IDF increased. The Caracal Battalion was established about 12 years ago as an experimental military company and quickly grew into a full battalion.

In the past few months, a heated debate has been taking place within the IDF and Israel regarding the military’s plans to integrate female soldiers into additional combat roles. Senior level Religious Zionism officials have claimed that women should not be serving in combat roles in general. In the beginning of last month, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot commented on the debate: “We are conducting discussions that were designed simply to consider the possibility. No one has put boys and girls together in a tank.”