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For the first time in the history of the Israel Air Force, it was decided Wednesday to appoint a woman to the position of deputy squadron commander.

Captain Yifat (last names of air force officials cannot be made public for security reasons) will be appointed second deputy commander of the freight transport squadron.

Captain Yifat began her career in the IAF as an assistant controller in the force's control unit. She later volunteered to take part in the IAF's prestigious flight course, which she completed with honors in the cargo transport division in 2002. She was stationed with the "Karnaf" squadron, and recently commanded over the basic level of the flight course at the Hatzerim air force base's flight school.

Air Force commander Major General Eliezer Shkedi issued instructions to open all positions in the air force to women. Women have been taking part in flight courses for several years. Captain Yifat is one of 17 female pilots and navigators currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces in different flight capacities, including a fighter plane pilot, assault helicopter pilot, fighter plane navigator and more.

On Tuesday, while IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was visiting a base in central Israel, a soldier asked his why the burden of military responsibility wasn't equally divided among men and women. Ashkenazi answered that today thousands of female soldiers enlist for extended service in the military, some of them in combat units, and some of them even participated in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. However, Ashkenazi added, the IDF is still very far from utilizing the full potential of women in the IDF, and that additional opportunities for women must be examined.