Israel Defense Forces Establishing New Mixed-Gender Battalion
In recent months, Israel Defense Force officials have held intensive discussions aimed at setting up a second mixed-gender infantry battalion, similar to the Caracal Battalion, established in 2000, Israel’s NRG News reported Monday.
“As part of the needs of the Ground Forces, it was decided to split off the Lavi Battalion from the Kfir Division, and turn it into a mobile battalion, like Caracal,” the army spokesman told NRG.
About 70 percent of Caracal’s soldiers and officers are female. The battalion is tasked with patrolling the border with Egypt, and nine years ago this month took part in the controversial “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip, uprooting close to 9,000 Israelis.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has already signed off on the plan, which would have the “Lavi” (Lion Cub) mobile Battalion split off from within the six battalions within the Kfir Division to become a mixed-gender body.
Lavi, set up in the early 2000s, is nowadays tasked with patrols and missions from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, down to the Hebron area.
The unit recently drew praise for its intensive operations to find the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens, abducted by Hamas terrorists from a hitchhiking post in the Gush a month ago, and shot to death a short time later.
Several weeks ago, Israeli security forces arrested ringleader Hussam Kawasma, who arranged the three-man cell which kidnapped Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel on the night of July 12.