ISIS don’t want none of these women. Check this out! Tough ladies.
As Sgt. Talia Ben Tuvia scanned the Israel-Egypt border, there was no doubt in her mind that ISIS would one day attempt an attack from beyond the frontier.
“We don’t see the Daesh fighters, but they are there in [Egypt’s] Sinai and are threatening to harm Israel,” she said, using another name for the extremist group.
The 21-year-old is one of the female soldiers prepped for battle on Israel’s front lines.
She serves as a member of the Karakal Battalion, which was founded in 2000 and is the country’s first to have male and female soldiers fighting side-by-side. Women form between 60 and 70 percent of Karakal, which gets its name from a species of desert cat whose gender is barely distinguishable.
Before the unit was established women were not able to serve as full combat soldiers in Israel.
“We are prepared against any attack,” Ben Tuvia told NBC News during a visit to her base near the border crossing earlier this month. “It may happen today [or] in a year or two but we are prepared and know it will happen … We are strong.”
Because Karakal Battalion is the main force protecting the border between Egypt and Israel, it’s likely that any ISIS militant attempting the crossing would come face-to-face with one of the women.
“I’m very proud to be a female soldier standing here saying that I’m not scared of ISIS,” Ben Tuvia said. “In the end it doesn’t matter if I’m a boy or a girl. If I have a gun we can all do the same thing.”
One of her male counterparts, Sgt. Rubi Ayash, said it took time to get used to having women on his team, but now he’s sold on the idea.
“There are a lot of advantages to mixed battalions — they bring in a new way of looking at things and obviously it’s more interesting,” he said.
To join the Karakal Battalion, volunteers must go through two days of mental and physical challenges.
On its website, Israel’s army warns prospective female recruits — whom it calls “girls” — that “the course is strenuous and identical to that of any other exclusively-male battalion.”