TEL AVIV, Israel, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- There has been an increase in the number of Israeli women seeking to serve in combat roles in the military, data indicate.
"We're seeing growing numbers of women in combat roles compared to last year. There are more women interested in significant service in the [army] as combat soldiers," Brig.-Gen. Raheli Tavat-Vizel, who advises the chief of staff on women's affairs in the military, told The Jerusalem Post.
While figures for women serving in combat roles in 2013 are not yet available, figures for previous years show an increase from 2006 to 2012, the newspaper said.
In 2012, women made up 58.9 percent of the coed Caracal Battalion deployed along the border with Egypt, 10 percent of the army's Artillery Corps and 6.3 percent of the Border Police, the paper said. Females also serve in units that operate the Iron Dome missile defense batteries.
A recent conference in Tel Aviv organized by Tavat-Vizel's office focused on encouraging women to enlist in combat roles, with female officers and soldiers from various units speaking to women about to enlist in the army.
A recent decision was made by the army to shorten the mandatory service of male soldiers to two years and eight months rather than three years, and lengthen women's service to two years and four months instead of two years. The decision will go into effect at the beginning of July 2015.
All Israelis are required to enlist in the army at the age of 18, unless they have received an exemption.