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.”
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.