First ultra-Orthodox Woman Accepted Into El Al Pilot Training

Identified only by first name, Nechama, a mother of three in her 30s who lives near Jerusalem, says her husband is 'very supportive, and helps to realize dream.'

An El Al plane on the tarmac at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport.
An El Al plane on the tarmac at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport. Daniel Bar-On

Israel’s national airline, El Al, accepted an ultra-Orthodox woman into its pilot training program.

Identified in Israeli media only by her first name, Nechama, the new recruit is a mother of three children in her early 30s from a town near Jerusalem, the news site www.ch10.co.il reported on Wednesday.

Nechama, who will be El Al’s first female haredi candidate, went to flight school in the United States after attending the Beit Ya’akov seminary. She applied to El Al several years after receiving a pilot’s license and returned regularly to the United States to fly in order to make the flight hour threshold required of candidates for El Al’s training program.

She succeeded in the tryouts and tests for El Al’s upcoming class, and received notice of her acceptance in recent weeks, according to the report. She is scheduled to begin training in approximately three months. An El Al spokesperson described her as “an impressive woman with special abilities and a high level of personal qualities,” according to ch10.co.il.

She was quoted as saying: “Being a pilot has always been a dream of mine. My husband is very supportive, and he is helping realize this dream.”