The commander of Israel's air force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, announced on Tuesday the appointment of the first female squadron commander.
Maj. G., whose name was not released for publication, will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. She will be in charge of the air force's intelligence squadron, known as the 122 "Nachshon" squadron, whose jets are Gulfstream 5.
Aged 34, Maj. G. joined the Israeli military in 2003. Between 2015 and 2017 she served as deputy commander of the same squadron she will now head.
In November 2014, a woman was first appointed to the role of first deputy commander of a squadron, the most senior role a woman had reached in the air force at the time.
In March of this year, the Israel Defense Forces removed an online video in which the army encouraged an equal service for men and women. The video was posted on the official Facebook page of the Israel Air Force to celebrate International Women's Day, and garnered many views. An Israeli, religious news website catering to religious-Zionists claimed the video was removed after it filed a request to take down the "defiant" content.
The video displayed female officers and soldiers serving in a variety of roles in the air force, while in the background claims can be heard against women serving in certain roles. Those criticisms were a nod to claims that were made by Israeli rabbis who said that women lack the physical ability to perform in certain roles and that they ought to take care of their kids instead of being in the army.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit commented on the video at the time: "The aforementioned video was prepared by the media team of the Israel Air Force, and isn't an official product of the Spokesperson's Unit. Regardless of the contents of the product, we will note that the video was not approved as is required of contents published across the IDF's online platforms. Because of this, we will now set clear procedures on the matter."
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