This is a Shana Tova (New Year) greeting card showing both a male and female soldier in a field of flowers. The male soldier is wearing the silver wings of the paratroopers’ unit and the unit’s distinctive red beret. His rank is first lieutenant as indicated by the officer insignia on his shoulders. The female soldier is wearing a uniform shirt and skirt and a special women’s army hat. The Knesset building is directly behind them.
The inscription on the card reads: “A year of peace and security.” The designer has included the phrase “A Happy New Year” in both English and French underneath the image.
After the Six-Day War, many of the Shana Tova cards featured soldiers, who represented the miracle of the victory. This explains why so many of the soldiers appearing in these cards are wearing the red berets of the paratrooper unit that fought in the battle for the Old City of Jerusalem.
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Women in the IDF - The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is one of the only armies in the world with mandatory army service for women. Women participated in the military even before the establishment of the State of Israel, serving in the paramilitary organisations such as Hashomer, Hagana, Palmach, and Etzel. In 1948, with the founding of the State, military service was made compulsory for all men and women over the age of 18. Women enlist in the IDF for two years, and after basic training they serve in a variety of duties. While a majority of the female soldiers work in non-combat roles such as clerks, welfare officers, nurses, and instructors, most of the roles in the IDF are open to female soldiers, including service in combat units. In fact, in recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of women serving in combat units, leading to an ongoing public debate about the necessity, effectivity, and even justification of their role in these units. Some women chose to be exempted from military service on religious grounds. Of these religious women, many choose instead to do Sherut Leumi (national service) in civilian institutions.