Fleeing female IDF soldiers spark criticism of ‘mixed units’

Five female IDF soldiers fled before Palestinians despite being well-armed. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Five female IDF soldiers forgotten by their commanders during a training exercise were harrassed by a group of Palestinian pursuers and proved unable to defend themselves even though they were armed with machine guns.

The event, which happened last week according to Israel’s state-owned TV Channel 11 as well as Israel’s Channel 12, raised concerns about the Israel Defense Forces experimentation with “mixed units,” a term Israel’s military uses to refer to combat units combining both men and women.

Maj. (res.) Haim Teitelboim, head of the group “Brothers in Arms,” which opposes women in combat roles, said, “This grave incident joins other operational failures involving mixed units that have happened recently.”

“There are a variety of roles in which female soldiers do an excellent job, but not in combat. The IDF is not a social organization. It’s the security for all of us. The battalions involved should be urgently closed,” he said.

According to reports, the five girls were forgotten in a grove in the Jordan Valley during a night exercise. The girls didn’t feel well and their commander told them to rest and wait, but then forgot to collect them. They spent about three hours in the area at night without any means of communication.

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They made their way to the road where Palestinians in two vehicles chased them for about 20 minutes.

The girls fled and hid behind trees, begging their pursuers to stop, but to no avail. The Arabs stole three of their helmets. Although the soldiers possessed automatic weapons, they were unable to remove the plastic safety flags inserted into them to prevent accidental discharge.

Finally, one of the female soldiers managed to remove the flag and pointed her weapon at the Arabs, who then fled with the helmets.

The armysaid it rebuked the commanding officers and the female soldiers involved in the incident for not behaving in a manner expected of IDF soldiers. The army says the incident would be investigated.

An army source also said, “It wasn’t indicated to the female soldiers how to remove the flags and to insert a magazine” into their weapons. This, despite the fact that the Army stated in its reprimand that the girls were near the end of their training course.