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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Israeli women combat soldiers on battle for equality

March 7, 2017 (Reuters/NAN) Two Israeli soldiers, a man and a woman, on Tuesday faced off in a training session of Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defence technique ahead of  the world International Women’s Day (IWD), a report said.
“I want you to be aggressive, give him the fight of his life,” physical education officer, Lotem Stapleton urged the woman.
Stapleton is a soldier in the Haraam artillery battalion, the Israeli military’s longest-running mixed-gender combat battalion.
The 2017 IWD which will be marked on March 8 with a theme focusing on “Women In The Changing World of Work”.
The Israeli military said it trained ahead of the curve in providing combat roles for female soldiers.
At an army base which under military censorship rules could not be identified in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Stapleton shouted encouragement at a pack of 13 soldiers.
The soldiers are confronted with a stream of “enemy combatants” in a training circuit.
“Today, 85 per cent of (combat) positions are open to women and we are also talking about opening more and more positions,” Stapleton said.
The Haraam battalion began accepting women in 2000.
Overall, female soldiers now make up 7 per cent of the fighting ranks in the Israeli military, where men and women are conscripted at the age of 18.
Men serve for three years and women for two. Israel’s Arab citizens and ultra-Orthodox Jewish community are largely exempted from military service.
“I think that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is very advanced by giving women equal opportunities,” Lt.-Col. Oshrat Bachar, an adviser to the office of the chief of staff on gender issues, said. (Reuters/NAN)
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