First female combat tank operators of the Israeli Army completed their training on Tuesday.
The 13 operators of 15 picked for a pilot program to assess fuller gender integration in the Armored Corps passed the training on the Merkava Mark 3 model, which they will operate.
They will shortly be sent to southern Israel to begin a four-month trial deployment. They women will serve in the 80th Division responsible for the Negev and Arava deserts.
While the declared reason of the propgram is a fuller gender integration, some epxerts believe that the real reason is the personnel gap. Over the past five years the number of female combat soldiers in ISrael has increased from 547 in 2012 to 2,700 in 2017.
Thus, Israel is steadily increasing a number of female soliders in the fields where high professional skills are needed. Most likely, the Armored Corps program will be expanded to a couple hundreeds of persons.