Parsha Bamidbar is about the census of the people of Israel where the counting of all male Israelites started at the age of twenty. The age of twenty was considered to be the age at which a young male Israelite could go to war. The rabbis tell us that women weren’t counted because they were not warriors. Things have changed in a few thousand years.
In Israel today, young women are warriors and go into the military just as men do. In fact, Israel has had numerous women train as fighter pilots for the IAF (Israeli Air Force). Modern treatment of women as warriors has a good and bad side. It is good that women are treated as equals when it comes to defending their homeland. It is bad that women are subjected to the stress and danger of modern warfare. Warfare is not good for men or women, but as it says in the Tanakh (Ecclesiastes 3:1), “There is a time for everything.”
As a former US Marine, I can tell you that those who serve in the IDF and the US military are fervent believers in peace. When I was in Israel, I volunteered on an IDF military base near Tel Aviv and talked about this with the young men and women soldiers. They would like to get on with their lives and not have to serve their country by being in the military. Nonetheless, they serve because they love Israel, the Jewish people and they are willing to die to defend them. I have nothing but admiration for their dedication and service, as I do members of the US military as well.
As a proud member of the Jewish War Veterans, I want to thank all Jews for their service to their country and people. Shalom to all.