Israel is one of three countries in the world where military service is compulsory for women. Since 2000, the women were given equal rights to serve in the military alongside men. Now they make up 33% of IDF ranks, and 51% of its officers.
All Israeli women must undertake 24 months of military service, and afterwards remain reservists until they are 38: terms which are identical for men. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images Women have formed part of Israel's military since the state was founded in 1948. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images Before Israel was founded, women made up 20% of the militias which went on to form the Israeli Defence Forces. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images When the IDF was founded in 1948, female troops were taken off the front line, due to fears of sexual assault. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images During the Yom Kippur War, women returned to the frontlines due to a shortage of troops, but most remained secretarial and support roles. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images From the late 1970s, women began to able to take on more roles, and higher ranks. By 1986 Amira Dotan became the IDF's first female brigadier-general. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In 1996 Alice Miller took the IDF to court, when she was barred from taking the Israeli Air Force entrance exams on the grounds of her sex. Miller won the case, which led to the 2000 Equality act, but failed the entrance exams. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In 2001 Roni Zuckerman became the first female fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force. Afterwards hundreds more women took on combat roles. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images As with men, women can refuse conscription for religious reasons, including being a conscientious objector, or if she strictly adheres to Jewish dietary laws and travel bans during the sabbath. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images Despite the promise of equality, female soldiers face regular sexual harassment. In 1999, complaints of harassment averaged one a day. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images Female and male Haredi - orthodox Jews - have formed a growing number of IDF personnel. However, most request deferments or to be excused from military service, so they may pursue religious studies. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In 2013, the IDF announced that transgender woman would be allowed to serve in the army as a female soldier. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In 2007, the move to equality in the IDF led to changes in laws and policies which made it harder for women to be excused from conscription, or to falsely claim exemptions for religious reasons. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In 2014 a 29 year-old medic, only known as 'Dr. Shani', became the first female combat doctor in an IDF elite counterterror unit. Her unit's commander warned, 'Don't mess with her.' Uriel Sinai/Getty Images Despite the problems women in the IDF still face - 1-in-5 are still victims of sexual harassment or assault - they are acknowledged worldwide as the equals to the men of the Israeli military. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images