Women and Military Service in Israel, 1948–1967

TitleWomen and Military Service in Israel, 1948–1967
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGillath, Nurit
EditorLatzel, Klaus, Franka Maubach, and Silke Satjukow
Book TitleSoldatinnen: Gewalt und Geschlecht im Krieg vom Mittelalter bis heute
PublisherFerdinand Schöningh

This book chapter in the 2011 edited German volume Soldatinnen: Gewalt und Geschlecht im Krieg vom Mittelalter bis heute (Female Soldiers: Violence and Gender in War from the Middle Ages to the Present) discusses women and military service in Israel between 1948 and 1967. Before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, women already  served in combat roles in the militias that would become the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The rate of women who took part in combat in the militias was around at 20 percent.  In addition approx. 4,000 women volunteered for service in the British assisting force in Palastine during World War II.  After its founding,  the Israel  introduced universal conscription for the IDF not only for men but also women. With this step it became the first state with armed forces in which women were conscripted similar to men. But  the inclusion of women was based on a clear gender division of tasks in the military, despite  excellent esperiences with women in combat during World War II, women in the IDF were not used in any combat positions, only for administrative jobs, in communication, technical support and medical service. Only few women flew transport missions in the 1950s.

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