IDF OKs first female frontline troops to cross into enemy territory to confront Hezbollah

In a historic decision, the IDF will allow women to cross into enemy territory to provide field intelligence.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF has decided for the first time to allow female combat troops to go over the northern border to confront Hezbollah along with their male counterparts, according to The Jerusalem Post.

A drone unit of 10 women for the Combat Collection Corps will join a battalion that stands ready to cross into Lebanon to fight Hezbollah if necessary. It will become operational in the near future.

Formerly known as Field Intelligence operators, these troops will use their unmanned aerial vehicles to be the “eyes in the sky” that help spot enemy forces in real time.

The women serve for the same amount of time as their male comrades, learn the same fighting skills and receive equal pay and benefits as befits all frontline soldiers. They also do reserve duty, as all Israeli combat soldiers do.

Israeli women drone operators have already crossed the border, according to Lt. Col Reut Rettig-Weiss in a 2018 Times of Israel article. However, she didn’t specify if that also included the northern border.

Rettig-Weiss, who took over the Artillery Corps’ elite Sky Riders Unit in 2017, said, “The female soldiers participate in every aspect of the fighting, cross the borders and take an equal part in operational activities.”

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She said the best Skylark operators travel with deep-penetration special forces during their top-secret missions. She noted the only difference was that male soldiers would carry the drones. The female soldiers use vehicles to transport their equipment.

Israel’s visual intelligence branch has boasted a high number of female operators. Unit 9900, which runs Israel’s satellites, established an advanced drone unit that was revealed to the public in July.

Its commander, Col. A., said in a Globes interview that, “There are quite a few women administering 9900, and in the unit there are not a few lieutenant-generals, including my deputy. The whole digital world in the unit is led by a female lieutenant-general. Sixty percent of the unit is female and 45% of the officers. That is a huge force.”

Among 9900’s most publicized successes was helping to gather the visual intelligence necessary to assassinate senior Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata last November.