For the first time in Israeli history, female combat intelligence soldiers have been deployed to the country’s northern front—currently, its most volatile. The soldiers are tasked with collecting intelligence via drones.

Approximately two months ago, the military decided to add an all-female unit specializing in drone operations to the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps’ 869th combat intelligence battalion, “Shachaf.”

In doing so, “we double the forces in the sector,” said Lt. Nurit Rokach, commander of the new unit. “No one in the area knows how to use drones, certainly not at our level, so we are considered forces in high demand,” she added.

The drone unit was a game-changer for the sector, confirmed an official in the IDF Northern Command.

“The female soldiers are able to operate the new technologies in an outstanding manner, and we have absolute faith in them,” said the official.

The soldiers and officers of the unit know that they have broken a glass ceiling in terms of the public’s perception of where women can be deployed, but among themselves, they say there is no difference between them and their male comrades.

“It’s not something we think about on a daily basis,” said Rokach. “Both male and female combat intelligence soldiers provide the first response in real time, so we need to operate on two levels—to provide the intelligence, and also the first response in the field. No other fighting force has that capability.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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