After the highest number of women serving in combat positions was recorded this year, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced that any further growth will be curbed until a reevaluation of possible physical and emotional consequences.

Women in the IDF

Women in the IDF Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

2017 marked a new record-high number of women serving in combat positions, and now, the IDF announced that it wishes to maintain the existing number and not the record of female combat soldiers in order to reevaluate possible health consequences.

The Spokesperson’s Unit said that women in combat roles must be first tested for various criteria, especially “survivability” – the ability to face the mental and physical strains of combat. “We will continue to recruit the current number of female combat soldiers; however, there is no intention of opening additional divisions [to women] or to increase the number of female combat soldiers in the IDF,” the Spokesperson’s Unit explained in a statement.

Woman in a mixed-gender combat unit

Woman in a mixed-gender combat unit Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/Channel 2 News

The IDF also wishes to investigate how the mental and physical load affects the number of dropouts in combat divisions as well as the toll of the long-term physiological effects on the women’s bodies. The results of these tests will determine the IDF’s future policies for women in certain roles.

2,700 women served in combat positions this year, 200 more than 2016. Women now hold 50% of the combat roles in the Home Front Command and the Air Defense Command, 35% in the Border Police and 12% of all combat soldiers.