Caracal Battalion

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Caracal Battalion
Caracal battalion.jpg
Beret doffing 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(s) "The winning combination"
Colors Light green beret, Orange & Bordeaux Flag
Engagements Al-Aqsa Intifadah; 2005 Gaza withdrawal; 2006 Israel-Lebanon War;

The Caracal Battalion (Hebrew: גדוד קרקל‎‎) is an infantry combat battalion of the Israel Defense Forces, one of only two fully combat units[1] in the Israeli military that is composed of both male and female soldiers.[2] It is named after the Caracal, a small cat whose sexes appear the same.[3] As of 2009, approximately 70% of the battalion was female.[2][4]


Swearing in of the Caracal Battalion

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.[5]

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 wearing a Suicide Belt.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] The unit badge incorporates the Sagi Brigade badge with the addition of the Caracal cat.[9]


Female soldiers taking part in Caracal Winter Training

New recruits in the Caracal Battalion are issued the Israeli-made Tavor assault rifle.[9] Battalion members partake in a four-month basic training period that includes physical training and weapons training at the Givati Brigade training base. [4]

Battalion recruits are required to sign up for a third year of military service.[2][4]

Notable recruits[edit]

Second Lieutenant Noy, who is serving in the Caracal Battalion, was the first female officer to command a sniper platoon.[10][11]

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.[12]

Captain Or Ben-Yehuda was awarded citation while serving in the Caracal Battalion. Captain Ben-Yehuda was in charge of the Caracal Battalion which was stationed near the Israeli / Egyptian border. Nearly two dozen armed men opened fire on their position in an ambush attack on October 22, 2014. Although wounded in the volley of gunfire, Captain Ben-Yehuda managed to get on the radio and call for backup, administer first aid to her driver and return several magazines worth of gunfire back at her attackers while waiting for reinforcements.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yoav Zitun (August 5, 2015). "Meet the IDF's second co-ed battalion - the Lions of Jordan". Ynet Magazine. Retrieved December 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Coed combat". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Caracal". the Honolulu Zoo. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Integration of women in the IDF". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. March 8, 2009. Archived from the original on November 14, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ Sheera Claire Frenkel. "After the evacuation". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ "One Female Warrior Excels during Fire Exchange, as Another Is Shamed". The Jewish Press. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ Female warrior who killed a terrorist: an impressive commander Maariv
  8. ^ "gender IDF Battalion thwarts terrorist attack on Egyptian border". Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Ben, Tzvi (January 8, 2009). "Female Combat Soldiers to Receive Advanced Tavor Rifle". Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  10. ^ 1st woman commands sniper platoon. YNet.
  11. ^ "Israeli Women Inspired to Join Combat Units" by Julie Stahl,
  12. ^ Caro Weizman, Rotem (July 26, 2010). "First Female Arab Combat Soldier in IDF is Proud to Serve Israel". IDF News. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. 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.' 
  13. ^ "This Female IDF Soldier Fought Off 23 Terrorists in Surprise Attack", The Tribunist