Wednesday, December 28, 2011

IAF Touts Female Flight Schools Grads

From Israel National News: IAF Touts Female Flight Schools Grads
The commissioning ceremony for graduates of the IDF pilot's course was held on Tuesday at the IAF base in Hatzarim.

The course concludes three years of officer's training, flight training, and results in both an IDF officer's commission and an academic degree from Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Graduates will go on to specialized flight training for the specific roles they will fill in the IAF. This years class includes five female graduates, the highest number to graduate at one time.

Commanders touted the women graduates as "definitive proof" Israel is a democratic and civilized society.

"Today five warriors who complete the course represent all women serving in the IDF," Brigadier General Ziv, who commands the Hatzarim base, said. "They are definitive and unshakable proof of the status in democratic and civilized society."

"They are independent and powerful with equal duties and rights, an example to all. Men and women warriors, we salute you today with satisfaction and great pride in our fighters," he added.

The five female graduates, however, are not the first women to serve in the IAF as pilots. Israel's first female military pilot was Rachel Markovski, who earned her pilot’s license in 1940.

In 1949 Israel's law was amended to state that equality would be maintained in the IDF except in such cases where physical requirements required restrictions be imposed – leaving some 92% of roles in the IDF open to women.

The IAF flight school has been formally co-ed since 1995 and graduated its first female fighter pilot in 2001.

Despite claims in Israel’s media to the contrary women who wish to serve in combat roles have numerous paths they can follow, including air-medical technicians in the IAF's elite Unit 669, Surface to Air Missile (SAM) operators, Combat Engineers, the Atomic Biological Chemical (ABC) unit, Light infantry (Karakal) on the Egyptian border, Military Police (Sachlav), the IDF's elite MAGAV-SAMAG undercover commando unit, Naval officers, and the border observation element Unit 869.

Woman also fill almost all instructor positions in the IDF.

The pilot graduates will formally receive their wings at a ceremony on Thursday that will be attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, and IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushtan.

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