Female enlistment to the Border Police is on a rise, and so the IDF decided to establish a new unit for the fresh recruits and name it after what they believe is one the reason for the increase in the branch's popularity—the female Border Police officers who fell in the line of duty.
'Hadar Company,' named after a female Border Police officer Hadar Cohen who lost her life in a terrorist attack at Jerusalem's Damascus gate on February 2016, is an all-female recruit unit established in response to the much-larger-than-usual 252 female soldiers who enlisted to the Israel Border Patrol in the draft earlier this month.
Liora Diachenko, 18, a Jerusalem resident and one of the 252 draftees, said: "Since I was in high school I volunteered in Magen David Adom. A month and a half ago I arrived with one of the ambulances to the Damascus Gate and treated Hadas Malka, the officer who was murdered there.
"I always wanted to be in the Border Guard, and after Hadas' murder, the decision was bolstered: to protect my city, my home."
Not everyone accepted her decision easily. "My mother said, 'why not go to the Intelligence Corps, where you were offered to go. It's dangerous in the Border Police, mainly at the Damascus Gate.'
"Everyone also tells me that I am fragile, but I promise everyone that I will finish basic training and become an exemplary Border Guard officer. Do not let my looks fool you."
The human resources officer of the Border Police, Chief Superintendent Keren Meir, hears this and smiles. She is celebrating the largest recruitment cycle of girls in the unit's history.
"The desire to serve in the Border Police now stands in line with the desire to get to the pilots' course or to be a combat soldier in Karakal," she explains. "Until now, there was one company of girls out of the five regiments of the recruits, and in the current recruitment cycle we were forced to open another company of girls to meet the high demand of those who want to join the Border Police."
The Border Police explains the dramatic rise in demand with the stories of the deaths of two Border Police fighters in two separate attacks at the Damascus Gate: Hadar Cohen, who was killed a year and a half ago, and Hadas Malka, who was killed in June.
"My sister serves as a fighter in the Karakal, and I knew I was continuing the tradition in the family, to be a combat fighter," said Amit Korkus from Moshav Rinatia when asked why she joined the Border Police. "My mother objected, wanted me far from danger, but I love action and the Border Police is perfect for me.
"Mom and Dad offered to buy me a car if I gave up the Border Police, but I'm happy to be here," Korkus added.
"I made aliya to Israel from Lyon, France," says Laura Benhamu, 19, in Hebrew with a heavy French accent. "Mother saw on television in French the mess at the Temple Mount last Friday, and she knows what happened to Hadar Cohen, so she called and said to me: 'You're not going to the Border Police or to Damascus Gate. Come back home
"But I'm a Zionist. I came to defend the state and especially Jerusalem. I'm waiting to be a real fighter, in the action."
The parents also tried to discourage Rachel Blanich, 18, from Ness Ziona.
"They asked me (to reconsider). I replied that I dream not only of being a Border Police fighter, but an army officer, and the so the discussion ended," Blanich said.
Basic training lasts four months, but after two months the girls will make a trip to receive their Border Guard uniforms. "Come and see me in four months," Diachenko concluded. "Then you'll meet a real Border Guard officer."