Offered combat positions, classified intelligence roles and more, Orthodox female soldiers will now be able to combine religious studies as well as a fulfilling IDF service
The Israel Air Force opened this year a unique project that allows ultra-Orthodox women to combine a year of religious studies with military service. The women enlist together and are able to serve in a wide variety of roles. Recently, the first 20 project participants enlisted. In 2007, the IAF enlisted ultra-Orthodox soldiers as part of the “Blue Shachar” project, under which hundreds of soldiers were brought into the IAF in the fields of computing, electronics, and maintenance. Now the IAF is taking an additional step to incorporate religious soldiers. “At the end of 12th grade, the girls do a year of religious studies, where they learn the Torah, and after this begin the process of enlistment for various positions within the army,” explains IAF manpower officer Sgt. Maj.Chen Goneh. “We come to the schools and tell them about the IAF and they choose where they want to go.” “Recently, 20 girls enlisted in the IAF who are very much ambassadors,” Sergeant Maj. Goneh said. “They enlisted together and some of them will go through basic training and courses and also serve in the same place.” The enlistees will maintain their religious lifestyles, receiving lessons from a rabbi and also visiting a religious educational institute every few weeks. “We don’t limit the girls to certain roles, of course,” Sgt. Maj. Goneh said. “But we suggest to them roles that can be combined with the continuation of their studies.” The participants will serve in roles such as aerial photography analysts, educators, and guides at the IAF museum.