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Israel News

Female pilot to become IAF combat squadron deputy commander

CM 18/08/2021

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Another woman has broken the glass ceiling in the Israel Air Force and has been appointed deputy commander of an Israel Air Force combat squadron.  She was appointed by IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin on Tuesday night. 
Norkin appointed Major N. (her name is withheld due to security reasons) as commander of the 119th “Bat” squadron that flies F-16s out of the Ramon Airbase in the south of the country. 
N. completed the pilot’s course in 2015 and was trained as a navigator. The 28-year-old from central Israel is currently serving as head of the IAF commander’s office. She will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel when she starts her position next year.

She is the latest woman to get promoted to a senior role in the Israel Air Force, which along with the entire military is working to have more women in senior positions.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has stated that he plans to see the number of female senior officers rise by 50% within the next five years, especially in technology and cyber roles.
Nevertheless, the number of women promoted to top positions has fallen dramatically in recent years with, according to a report by Haaretz, only 19 women being promoted to the rank of colonel out of 200. There are only six women holding the rank of brigadier general and only one who is a major general.
Norkin has stated he believes that “it is our duty in the Israel Defense Forces to fulfill the inherent potential in women. We are still far from this goal, but I am sure that this process will continue and that we will appoint female commanders and soldiers in a wide variety of positions in the air force and in the IDF in general.”
In 1949, Israel’s army became the first in the world to introduce mandatory military service for both men and women and in 1951 Yael Rom became the first graduate of the prestigious pilots’ course.  But shortly after that, women were once again barred from combat positions, including from becoming pilots.
In 1993, South African immigrant Alice Miller successfully sued the military for her right to enlist into the air force. While she was declared medically unfit for the role of a pilot, her actions shattered the glass ceiling in the IAF and opened up the pilots’ course to women. 
In 2000, Lt. Roni Zuckerman, the granddaughter of two leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, became the first woman to graduate as a combat fighter pilot. 
In 2017 “Capt. Y,” an F-15 navigator, was appointed deputy commander of the 116th Spearhead combat squadron which flies F-15 fighter jets out of Tel Nof airbase in central Israel. 
Two other female officers were appointed that year to serve as deputy commanders of a squadron of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) out of Palmachim airbase.
In 2018, Norkin appointed two women to senior positions. Maj. G became the first woman to command an aviation squadron of “Nachshon” (Gulfstream V) aircraft from Nevatim AFB, and participates in intelligence and aerial reconnaissance missions; another woman was promoted to lead the IAF’s operational command and control unit.
Major G was the highest-ranking woman in the IAF when she was deputy commander of the Nachshon squadron in 2014.  
Last year, Cpt. S. became the first woman in the IAF to fly an F-35 fighter jet in the 116th squadron, nicknamed “Lions of the South,” also based out of Nevatim in southern Israel.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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