Israel Defense Forces will not integrate female soldiers into the Armored Corps.
The decision comes after a successful training course for female troops as tank crewwomen last year.
A cost-benefit analysis ruled out the establishment of a new IDF unit.
Israel’s military confirmed the ruling, initially reported by Army Radio, on Sunday.
In an official statement, they noted a trial period had been a success, but training women for tank combat positions on a larger scale would require forming a separate military unit necessitating additional resources.
“During the course of one year and four months, a pilot training course was conducted to examine whether a team of women would be able to operate a tank in a manner sufficient enough to defend our borders,” said the military.
“As a result, three tank crews, including four tank commanders, were successfully trained.
“Following an assessment, in cooperation with the border defense establishment and the Armored Corps, it was decided that the next-level training courses would require a significant addition of manpower and infrastructure.
“In the wake of that, it was decided to integrate the soldiers who had undergone the training into existing combat units, rather than establish new ones.”
Ten crewwomen who participated in special training have been integrated into combat units including the Karakal Battalion, composed of male and female combat soldiers.
Army Radio reported the decision was made during the term of previous IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who left his post in January.
Brig. Gen. (ret.) Avigdor Kahalani, is not surprised at the decision.
“I thought this would be the outcome all along,” he said.
“I am in favour of women in the military but on a technical level, there are limits. For instance, to the amount of weight they can lift, and I speak from experience, as someone who’s been to every possible battlefield.
Kahalani added, “We’re not at a point when we need to send female soldiers to the front line. Do we want our future mothers returning home without limbs and with PTSD, like my soldiers back in the day?”
Fifteen female combat soldiers launched the pilot after completing basic training in the Karakal. The initiative included tank training as a loader, gunner, tank driver and tank commander in enclosed and open areas.
They also received operational experience on the Egyptian border.
Five soldiers dropped out during the course, two on medical grounds unrelated to training, two for professional reasons and a fifth due to a lack of motivation noted the IDF.
By Adam Moses