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IDF's Female Fighters Overcome Odds to Serve

Female Soldier of IDF's Combat Intelligence Corps (Photo: flickr/IDF)

Young people in Israel are not only required to serve their country, but are proud to perform their duty. Yediot Achronot's Etti Abramov tells the story of three young women who could have been exempted from serving in the IDF, but who instead chose to protect the Israeli people by taking on combat roles:

Cpl. Inbar Shimshon still remembers that day in February 2016. It was her third shift as a checkpoint soldier in the Erez Battalion at one of the most dangerous checkpoints in Israel: Shuafat Checkpoint, next to Jerusalem.

"Suddenly, a girl came in," Inbar remembered, "She looked about 20. She put her things into the X-ray machine, and we saw that she had left one bag outside. I asked her to put that in the machine, too, and then we identified a sharp object inside a gallon of yogurt. Contrary to what people think, it's pretty hard to locate something like that, because the yogurt is thick.

"We stopped the check and asked her to put her things through again so that we would carry out a manual examination. When we looked, we didn't see anything, and then I saw that she had hidden that bag with the gallon of yogurt. I asked the guard to bring me the bag, and when I poured the container out in the sink, we found the knife. We arrested her, and she was taken for investigation..."

After the incident, many came to Inbar and complimented her. Few knew that she had been through a hard struggle with the army to enlist in general and to become a combat soldier in particular, as she had suffered from cancer in her childhood. "It really moved me," she said, "that I can save lives in return like my own life was saved. People could have been hurt, and I prevented it."

Inbar is 20 years old and from Bat Yam. At the age of six, she began experiencing strong oral pain. The doctors thought that it was from tooth growth or a gum infection. But the diagnosis that came in a few months later was devastating: cancer in her jaw that had spread in the interim to her head and brain. She was hospitalized for four years at the Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petah Tikva with very low chances of survival.

But Inbar did indeed get better, and when her draft date approached, she decided that she wanted to be a combat soldier. "I wanted to show everyone that this poor, inferior person could grow into a person who is useful to society. I wanted to be the best and prove that I wasn't different from others..."

Tags: IDF

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