Nov. 17, 2017
Why a Growing Number of Religious Women Want to Serve in the Israeli Military – Ruth Eglash (Washington Post)
All Israelis are drafted into the military at age 18, with a few exceptions.
Religiously observant women, known in Israel as modern Orthodox, traditionally have opted to enroll in national service, volunteering in schools or the community for a year or two, instead of the military.
But since 2010, the number of religious women who want to serve has jumped from 935 in 2010 to 2,499 in 2016.
They are increasingly choosing to serve out of a sense of duty to defend Israel, military officials and soldiers say.
Women make up roughly a third of Israel’s military, compared with about 14% in the U.S. armed forces. The IDF says that today around 90% of all military jobs are open to women.
Brig.-Gen. Sharon Nir, the adviser on gender affairs to the IDF chief of staff, said, “These women have realized the army is a very important component of feeling part of Israeli society, and they want to contribute to the state. They are religious Zionists – their brothers serve, and now they want to, too.”