First Ever Female IDF Major General Officially Enters Job

Major General Orna Barbivay took her place as commander of the IDF's Manpower Branch on Thursday, following a ceremony attended by IDF chief Gantz and Defense Minister Barak.

Israel Defense Forces history was made on Wednesday when a woman was officially promoted to the rank of Major General for the first time.

Major General Orna Barbivay, 49, replaced Major General Avi Zamir as commander of the IDF's Manpower Branch in an official ceremony on Wednesday, which was attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF chief Benny Gantz, and other senior army officials.

Barbivay - May 26 2011 - IDF Spokesman
IDF Spokesman

During the ceremony, Barbivay said that her appointment is a "clear statement of equal opportunity" in the army.

Gantz praised Barbivay, saying she "receives this position thanks to her successful work and professional qualifications and the way she carried out her different positions over the years." He pointed out that Barbivay was not given her ranking "out of charity."

Barak called Barbivay's appointment "a very exiting moment for all of Israeli society."

"The appointment first of all came from her record as an officer in the IDF," Barak said. He added that he was "certain" of her ability to lead the Manpower Branch.

Barbivay, who is married with three children, enlisted in the army in 1981, joining the Adjutant Corps. She served in a variety of posts in the Corps, eventually commanding it, and also served as chief manpower officer in the Ground Corps Command.

The rank of major general is the second-highest in the IDF, and is the highest a soldier can reach unless appointed chief-of-staff, who is always the only serving officer with the rank of lieutenant-general.