The women of iron

That dark Saturday of Oct. 7 was a turning point in Israeli, Jewish, Middle Eastern and world history. The atrocities perpetrated that day have not yet been fully researched and documented; the details have been increasingly obscured in the fog of our war—the Israeli campaign and its many achievements, both on the harsh battlefield and on the geopolitical level, as Israel arose from the ashes galloping towards a victory that will transform the entire region.

In contrast, one dramatic achievement has been clear from the very first minutes of Oct. 7: The women of Israel have earned their reward for the blood, sweat and tears their sisters shed for the whole nation and all of humanity.

Just as the female tank crews took the initiative and charged forward to help the communities under attack, plowing through the roads and agricultural fields to devastate Hamas’s terrorists with fire, so too are Israel’s women now paving a new path to the future.

In other countries, the horrific sights of female soldiers being dragged into captivity might have led to a re-evaluation of whether to let women serve on the frontlines—or even whether they should be drafted into military service at all. But not in the IDF, which responded by doubling down on having female soldiers and officers contribute to the war effort.

For the first time since the War of Independence, women are engaged in frontline combat against the enemy. Whereas back then, it was mainly done out of necessity, due to a shortage of manpower in the newly established state, nowadays it is being done intentionally, to reflect the egalitarian reality of a mature and progressive state.

It is no coincidence that Ori Megidish, liberated from captivity in Gaza, has returned to her post as an IDF field observer and rejoined her unit after being rescued from captivity by the IDF—for a female fighter, just like her male counterpart, immediately returns to battle.

And this is not just a war against the attempt to deny the Jewish people its rightful homeland, or against the Iranian regional axis that seeks to defeat, trample and destroy the State of Israel. This is also a war against the very essence of violent patriarchy, against the armed and Islamist embodiment of the fear and hatred that certain insecure men have harbored since time immemorial towards girls and women.

We know that, sadly, Hamas focused much of its efforts on turning women into victims on Oct. 7, often in particularly horrific ways. But what Hamas is discovering, to its misfortune, is that women will be the victors in this war. The fact that slender fingers with painted nails press the trigger that sends many of the terrorists to hell surely creates a special sense of humiliation for those who preach male supremacy.

Israel’s success—the blessing for which it constantly gets cursed by its enemies—is its ongoing pursuit of gender equality. And the war, even as it still rages on, is having a ripple effect on our civilian society. 

I will dwell on just one more special example—that of Nasrin, the heroic Druze woman who on the morning of Oct. 7 boldly emerged from her shelter, outsmarted the terrorists around her, and extracted information from them that would later save the entire community of Yated.

I believe these changes will only spread further, from the issue of equal burden in IDF service to the need to increase the prominence of women in politics, government, business and other leading professions.

The iron swords are heavy, but the women wielding them will not let them fall.

Source: JNS

Originally published by Israel Hayom.