It was only in 2001 that a woman reached the pilot’s seat itself in the Israel air force, meaning it took less than two decades to leapfrog from that achievement to the position of squadron commander.
Israeli Air Force/Koral Dvir
Female Israeli air force pilots are seen in an unspecified location, June 17, 2018.
When retired Col. Miri Eisin graduated from high school in Israel in 1980, she was drafted like every 18-year-old boy and girl in the Jewish State to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It was both a totally ordinary and extraordinary event: At home in Israel, military service is as much a part of quotidian life as taxes and public transport. But zooming out of that postage-stamp-sized nation and taking in the state of the world as a whole, Israel’s military — which is among only a handful on earth to require conscription of its female citizens — is radically unique.
Eisin, who was born in Northern California but raised in Israel, speaks fluent English and also impressive French. It was mostly for her language skills, she says, that she was placed into military intelligence, a role that jived well with her personality. Eisin is quick-thinking, intelligent and has fierce work ethics, which might have been why — while still in her compulsory training — she pushed very hard to get accepted into an officers’ training course. Eisin would go on to spend 20 years in the military, far beyond the mandatory two years that are required of Israeli women (men must serve for three years). She rose all the way up to the rank of colonel — a position whose stripes are so elusive that only 2% of the officers wearing them in Israel have ever been women.
At the time, she was extraordinary. While equality for women in the IDF looks much different today than it did when Eisin first joined up as a teenager, the reality, she says, is that equality has never been the goal.
“Everything that has to do with women in the [Israeli] military has evolved, developed and changed in the last 25 years,” she says. “Most women used to go to clerical positions, but I was lucky, and I pushed very hard to go to an officers’ course.”
Today, the Israeli military looks quite different. Fifty-one percent of all officers in the military are women, among them the first-ever female Israel air force squadron commander — known only by her first initial, Maj. G — who was tapped for her boundary-breaking position early last month. In 2017, the country launched its first program to train female tank commanders. A few months earlier, it announced with great pride that the numbers of women serving in combat positions were up by 38%. Progress, it seems, has been steady and swift. It was only in 2001 that a woman — Roni Zuckerman — reached the pilot’s seat itself in the Israel air force, meaning it took less than two decades to leapfrog from that achievement to the position of squadron commander.
But forward momentum, much like war itself, is always more complicated on the ground. Eisin, today a mother of three who is retired from the army and serves as a geopolitical expert, looks at her experience as a woman fighter with the cut-and-dry steadiness one might expect from a career soldier.
“It isn’t about equality 50/50, it’s about equal opportunity,” she says. “In general I feel that the military has given back to me as much as I have given it,” she says bluntly. “I [served in] a lot of diverse and amazing positions, and I think that’s a dimension of the modern world and what the last 100 years have given women.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Gila Klifa-Amir, who during her distinguished service served as the IDF chief of staff’s adviser on women’s affairs, says she is immensely proud of the gains made toward embracing women as soldiers within Israeli society.
“It must be understood that gender equality is an evolutionary process within a developing society,” she says. “The IDF has gone a significant distance and has adjusted and changed a great deal over the years in this arena.
But a key point often left out of the conversation about women fighters and Israeli society, she says, is actually the most important: Women have not excelled within the ranks of the IDF because of the firm lobbying hand of the women’s rights movement. On the contrary, Klifa-Amir says. They have excelled because their advancement has gone hand-in-hand with the primary aim of the IDF itself, which is protecting the State of Israel above all.
“Equal opportunity for women in the IDF is not a discussion of balancing state security and women’s rights. Rather, preserving the rights of women in the IDF in itself promotes the basic interests of both the IDF and Israel as a whole,” she says.
Today, when young women arrive for their first day of mandatory service on military bases across Israel, there are more positions open to them than were open to Eisin on her first day those decades ago. But much of the reasoning for the opening of those positions has simply been a matter of good sense: Those young women, it has been determined, are as capable as the young men alongside them to fill those ranks, so the doors have been unlocked.
Eisin, who retired from military service after the birth of her third child, says with a hint of irony in her voice that working mothers in every field will always shoulder a burden that their male colleagues do not.
“I wasn’t forced out,” she says, “but life is always about timing.” She wanted to take a year-long maternity leave after the birth of her third child, an option many women in Israel choose to take — their right to a full year away from work is protected by the law — and her superiors offered her an early retirement and collection of her pension instead.
“This aspect of how you balance your professional life and your married life and your life with children — that balance doesn’t have to do with the military, really,” she says. “It has to do with every working mother I can think of.”
At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Maracaibo. (photo credit: MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.
The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
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As Birthright Israel reaches its 700,000th participant, certain voices in America have done their best to slander the organization and force it to make drastic changes. Having staffed multiple Birthright trips as a madrich (youth leader), I have had the amazing opportunity to pass on some of the love for Israel that helped change my life.
Local police in Manchester’s Whitefield neighborhood declared the vandalism a criminal act rather than antisemitic.
Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
The Philips Park Jewish cemetery in Manchester, England, was vandalized on Saturday, during which the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, who died last year, was desecrated.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town. (photo credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)
A proposed multi-million dollar deal between Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) and South Africa’s biggest dairy producer Clover could be in serious trouble due to heavy pressure from the anti-Israel lobby.
Newly-formed consortium Milco, in which Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) holds a majority, is offering to buy 59.5% of the South African dairy producer.
We need to give the Likud Party some credit for not destroying itself in Tuesday’s internal elections. Given that primaries are the very embodiment of deal-making, political machines and big worker unions voting in lockstep, the results could have been far worse.
When it came to casting a secret ballot, the Likud Party’s registered voters did display some maturity. They weren’t the obedient foot soldiers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has failed again and again in his machinations.
With elections barely two months away, the greatest challenge facing Israel’s Right emanates neither from the Center nor the Left, but, rather, from within.
Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, several small parties on the Right, most of which may not individually pass the minimum threshold to make it into the next Knesset, could nonetheless win a combined total of 10 to 12 seats, all of which would end up in the dustbin if they fail to run together.
August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us”. October 2018, one white supremacist posted on social media that “Jews are taking over the white house”, and that Trump is a puppet of the Jews. Shabbat, the same month, a man enters a synagogue during a Bris celebration and butchers Jewish people who are praying. December 2018, Women’s March leader and Louis Farrakhan (“I’m not an antisemite, I’m an anti-termite”) fan, Tamika Mallory says: “White Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy…”
Henry Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews.
Henry Ford does not deserve to be honored. The question the good people of Dearborn should ask themselves is: What would you do if the performing arts center were named after Jefferson Davis? If the answer is that you would remove Davis’s name, then you should remove Ford’s.
It was reported recently that the USA and the Taliban have reached a peace agreement on Afghanistan that will allow US forces to leave that country 17 years after they invaded it on October, 2001, less than a month after 9/11.
Al Qaeda had used that dysfunctional state as a safe haven and, while there, was able to plan and execute the attacks that took the lives of over 3000 people in. After the West invaded, the Taliban