The important and challenging task of protecting the city of Nablus and its surrounding area isn’t just a man’s job. Recently, the IDF Home Front Command made history as it welcomed the first female soldiers to guard the line in Nablus.
Female combat soldiers make up thirty percent of the force in the newly co-ed David Company. The soldiers take great pride in securing the volatile area of Nablus, where just last month, the IDF seized several Palestinian weapons caches. They are quick to stress the fact that the question of gender does not come into play when assessing a risky situation.
Driving through the base in an armored vehicle clad with heavy vests and carrying their M-16s, this unique group easily dispels any outdated stereotype about women. Their strong character and unwavering commitment is striking and admirable.
“We guard day and night and we barely sleep so that the citizens can feel protected,” states Sgt. Yanina Jatemliansquy, a soldier in the David Company. Sgt. Jatemliansquy was born in Argentina and immigrated to Israel two years ago, drawn by her lifelong dream to protect the country. When asked what gives her the strength and motivation to get up every day, Sgt. Jatemliansquy’s answer is very straightforward– “My position.”
Capt. Asaf Diler, the David Company Commander, presents his approach about female soldiers serving in a male-dominated environment: “There is no difference between men and women. There’s equality. The female combat soldiers, like their male counterparts, put all of their effort into being the best soldiers, the most professional, the sharpest. I don’t know of any other reality. To me– male or female, they are combat soldiers.”
While acknowledging the importance of being the first women to guard the area of Nablus, these soldiers are more focused on the security of citizens than on any gender differences. “We are not going to let anything happen on our watch, while we are here. Nothing will happen when the David Company is in the area,” exclaims Corporal Dvir Cohen, a soldier in the company.
Cpl. Cohen, Sgt. Jatemliansquy and their sisters in battle represent an ideal which is deeply embedded in the values and tradition of the IDF and show the soldiers for what they truly are: hard-working, determined, full of conviction, natural fighters.