NEGEV DESERT -- For Israel, a nation surrounded by enemies, military preparedness is crucial. Consequently, the Israel Defense Force has become recognized around the world for its training.
CBN News was given rare access to one of the IDF's unique infantry units.
Deep in the heart of Israel's Negev desert, the Caracal - the only Israeli military unit composed of male and female soldiers - conducted a military war game.
CBN News followed the group on a combat simulation designed to storm and capture multiple hilltops. The training was real, rigorous, and used live ammunition. The men and women fought side by side, working together passing ammunition.
"What you guys filmed today - usually I have a lot of fun doing this, running and hearing all this shooting over my head. And I can really feel myself running and pushing myself forward. I love that," Sarah Odenheimer, one of the unit's female soldiers, told CBN News.
Odenheimer said she felt drawn to the battalion after hearing stories of Israel's famous soldiers.
"They're talking to me about loving the country and protecting the country. And all these stories about the soldiers who, through their lives and for the country or for their friends... This is the unit I can do it the best in," she said.
The young women appeared willing to suffer the same hardships as the men. But there were obvious challenges.
"You know, there's the sleeping arrangements, which always have to made separate," Odenheimer explained. "And it's a little extra here and there to make everything separate, but other than that it's fine."
"Caracal is one of the combat units where girls have the chance to do something else in the two or three years of service and give something more to the state of Israel," Capt. Arye Shalikar, an IDF spokesman, told CBN News.
With enemies like Hamas and Hezbollah preparing for war, it's possible the unit may find itself on the battlefield sometime in the not too distant future.