ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

search

Female IDF fighters tell Knesset they are proud of their contributions to war effort

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Brig. Gen. Ella Shedo Shechtman, the IDF's gender affairs adviser, speaks at a Knesset conference on women's heroism on February 13, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Brig. Gen. Ella Shedo Shechtman, the IDF's gender affairs adviser, speaks at a Knesset conference on women's heroism on February 13, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Members of an all-female tank crew that ran down dozens of Hamas terrorists on October 7 are proud of themselves and are eager for further combat operations, Lt. Michal Ohana, an officer in the Caracal mixed-gender light infantry battalion, tells lawmakers.

Testifying in the Knesset at a conference on the topic of “Women’s Heroism in the War,” the 21-year old tanker declares that her soldiers “felt a crazy significance” after the battle, are “proud of themselves” and “want more.”

The soldiers are part of a company of all-women tank operators, which was made permanent in the Israel Defense Forces in 2022 after a two-year pilot program. The company usually operates along the Egyptian border — not in wars or in fighting behind enemy lines.

On the morning of October 7, Ohana and her fellow soldiers left their base at Nitzana and drove north as fast as they could, in tanks and an armored Humvee. In one of a number of highly irregular decisions IDF commanders were forced to make that day, the tanks were given the okay to drive on civilian roads — at speeds far higher than recommended.

Speaking to Channel 12 in November, Ohana recalled how she “saw terrorists everywhere, and I told the driver — just run them down.”

In response, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi declared that their actions had silenced any doubters over the ability of women to be in combat units. Since October 7, the army reports that it has seen a massive spike in female conscripts seeking to join combat units.

Lawmakers and bereaved parents last month demanded an investigation into the IDF’s apparent disregard for the warnings of the female surveillance soldiers tasked with watching the Gaza border in the weeks before the Hamas massacre.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.