Caracal Battalion

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Caracal Battalion
Caracal battalion.jpg
Beret donning ceremony at Masada
Active 2000–Current
Country  Israel
Branch Ground Forces
Type Infantry
Role Infantry
Size 1 Battalion
Part of 512th Brigade ("Sagi territorial brigade"), Southern Command
Motto "The winning combination"
Colors Light green beret, Orange & Bordeaux Flag
Engagements Al-Aqsa Intifadah; 2005 Gaza withdrawal; 2006 Israel-Lebanon War;

The Caracal Battalion is an infantry combat battalion of the Israel Defense Forces, composed of both male and female soldiers, of both Jewish and Arab descent.[1] It is named after the Caracal, a small cat whose sexes appear the same.[2] As of 2009, approximately 70% of the battalion was female.[1][3]

History[edit]

Caracal soldier with the IMI Negev machine gun.

Prior to Caracal's formation in 2000, women were barred from serving in direct combat. The unit has since been tasked with patrolling the Israeli-Egyptian border. It took part in Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005.[4]

Caracal Battalion engaged in combat on September 21, 2012 on the Egyptian border, following the infiltration of a group of terrorists. Responding to a radio report of the attack, in a fire-fight a female Caracal infantry soldier killed a terrorist, who was carrying an explosive belt.[5]

In October 2014, a jeep of the battalion was attacked by militants from the Egyptian border with gunfire and an anti-tank missile. Two soldiers were injured. One of the injured, female officer, Captain Or Ben-Yehuda, nonetheless dismounted from the jeep and returned fire killing one militant in the fire-fight.[6] After she called in reinforcements, the IDF killed 3-6 militants on the Egyptian side of the border.

While Caracal is a mixed gender battalion, it has been 70% female since 2009. It is part of the 512th Sagi Brigade of the Southern Command.[7] The unit badge incorporates the Sagi Brigade badge with the addition of the Caracal cat.[8]

Training[edit]

Female soldiers taking part in Caracal Winter Training

New recruits in the Caracal Battalion are issued the Israeli-made Tavor assault rifle.[8] Battalion members partake in a four-month basic training period that includes physical training at the Givati Brigade training base. Soldiers specialize in various weapons including machine guns, advanced weaponry, grenades, and mortars. [3]

All female soldiers who join the battalion are required to sign up for a third year of military service, the same as their male counterparts.[1][3] The men are drawn from Nahal garinim, or have volunteered.[1]

Notable recruits[edit]

Second Lieutenant Noy, who is serving in the Caracal Battalion, was the first female officer to command a sniper platoon.[9][10]

Elinor Joseph, who has also served with the Caracal Battalion, is the first Arab woman ever to serve in a combat role in the Israeli army.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Coed combat". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Caracal". the Honolulu Zoo. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Integration of women in the IDF". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. March 8, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  4. ^ Sheera Claire Frenkel. "After the evacuation". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ "One Female Warrior Excels during Fire Exchange, as Another Is Shamed". The Jewish Press. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ Female warrior who killed a terrorist: an impressive commander Maariv
  7. ^ "gender IDF Battalion thwarts terrorist attack on Egyptian border". Jewishpress.com. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Ben, Tzvi (January 8, 2009). "Female Combat Soldiers to Receive Advanced Tavor Rifle". Israelnationalnews.com. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ 1st woman commands sniper platoon. YNet.
  10. ^ "Israeli Women Inspired to Join Combat Units" by Julie Stahl, CNSNews.com
  11. ^ Caro Weizman, Rotem (July 26, 2010). "First Female Arab Combat Soldier in IDF is Proud to Serve Israel". IDF News. Retrieved August 13, 2011. "The difficult dilemma she felt in serving at a border crossing was not easy for her but she said during moments of difficulty and misgiving she would remember, 'there was a Katyusha [rocket] that fell near my house and also hurt Arabs. If someone would tell me that serving in the IDF means killing Arabs, I remind them that Arabs also kill Arabs.'"