The Israeli and American navies are launching an exchange program in which Israeli cadets will train at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for four months.
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The American cadets will be coming to Israel this summer to learn Hebrew. During their naval training and academic course work at the University of Haifa they will be provided with simultaneous translation. The American cadets will also sail with their Israeli counterparts.
“It’s a student exchange with a considerable military add-on,” said the commander of Israel’s naval academy, Lt. Col. Eli Soholitzki. The new program is the latest example of cooperation between the two navies and follows Israeli participation in maneuvers with the Greek and American navies.
On Thursday about 100 recruits joined the new class of the Israeli naval cadet course. In this round most of the cadets are religious students from yeshivas; there are no women.
“There have been female cadets for more than a decade in every role commanders of naval craft, platoon commanders on missile ships," Soholitzki said. "We have no restrictions other than on submarines, where the vessel doesn’t make that possible.”
In placement decisions, he added, gender is not a consideration.
The navy is considering recruiting two classes a year of men and women in anticipation of increased staffing needs with the purchase of new Sa’ar 6 corvettes. Demand among draftees to join the navy is high, Soholitzki said.