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New Air Defense Officers Join the IAF Release date 29.10.2015
30% of the new officers who joined the Air Defense Division and have integrated into command posts in different batteries are women
Vered Talala | Translation: Ofri Aharon

"Dear graduates, today you're join the team of IAF and Air Defense Division Officers", said Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich, Division Commander to the excited graduates. "From now on, your soldiers will look up to you. They will wait to hear your response and will trust you to lead them with professionalism, wisdom and firmness. The Air Defense Division was and still is a pioneer when it comes to the integration of women into the combat divisions. You, the officers standing before me on the parade ground, you are a living testimony of our success in integration of women in the division. You are a large part of a very important process in which women are reaching key roles in Israeli society in general and in the IDF and IAF in particular".

"They don't make it easier for women"
The Air Defense Division is the second largest combat division in the IAF (after Pilot School) that has integrated women. Today, there are dozens of women combat soldiers that serve in the division throughout their service and reserve duty, as well as multiple officers that serve as battery commanders, Operational Officers and many more jobs.

One of the graduates, "Patriot" SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) Second Lieutenant Shir Samsom (19) has noticed the increasing number of women officers in the "Patriot" Division.
"In comparison to the previous class, our class has three Female 'Patriot' Officers. It's satisfying to see the amount of women officers who graduated increase, and it seems as if it'll only continue to increase. Women officers have many advantages in our field of combat. The morals that guide me personally are: discipline, respect and reliability".

Every stage of training in the Air Defense Division, which is lead by the Officers Course, is completely mixed, male and female soldiers deal with the exact same exercises and qualifications, while emphasizing gender equality. "They don't make it easier for women", declared Second Lieutenant Samsom. "Throughout the training and up until we received our officer's ranks, we were never pitied or given special treatment, we were always given the same treatment".

Who will be the first female deputy battalion commander?
New female officers also joined the "Arrow" Missile Defense unit, including Second Lieutenant Shelly Meirs (20). "In Officer Training School, my goal was to conduct my missions to the best of my abilities and to graduate with high grades".
"The Air Defense Division is a successful platform", states Lieutenant Colonel Tamir Tzimbar, Commander of the "Arrow" Missile Defense Unit. "It is expected of officers to hold high cognitive capabilities, fast and sharp thinking and creativity. The new female officers who will be capable of integrating their commanding skills with their professional lives will reach great heights".

According to Lieutenant Colonel Tzimbar, the Air Defense Division has already overcome the maturation stage in regards to equality between women and men combat soldiers. "Our graduated officers have returned from their studies and whoever has the will power and suits the job will be able to advance to higher positions".

"In the past few years, the division has strengthened beyond expectations. The ballistic and aerial threats over the state of Israel is changing and is becoming challenging and extremely complicated", said Brigadier General Tal Kelman, IAF Chief of Staff, to the graduates of the officer course. "You light the way to our freedom. You decision to take responsibility and lead is worthy of praise. You are the beautiful faces of Israel, boys and girls, children of Israel, a true collection of faces in the community of Israel".

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Photo by: Ayelet Eder