Sunday, December 28, 2014

Young Orthodox Jewish woman graduates air force pilot training • Only two ultra-Orthodox women have graduated the training; the first was killed in Himalayan avalanche

Herzl Yossef/Courtesy Ynet
 "Orthodox Jewish woman at Israel Air Force pilots' graduation ceremony, December 25, 2014"

A young Orthodox Jewish woman has graduated from the Israel Air Force pilot training program – only the second religious woman to ever complete the grueling course. She was seen marching last week with the other cadets, wearing an ankle-length khaki uniform skirt for reasons of modesty, in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel's serving pilots are barred from having their names published or faces photographed.

The only other religious woman to graduate from the course was Tamar Ariel, who served as the first Orthodox female navigator in the IAF, and was killed in an avalanche in the Himalayas while on vacation there last October.

"Tamar Ariel, the first Orthodox woman to graduate the Israel Air Force pilot training, at a graduation ceremony in 2013. She was killed in October 2014 in an avalanche while on vacation in the Himalayas"

Israeli women were barred from being air force pilots until 1996, when a woman named Alice Miller took the IAF to the Supreme Court to allow her to participate in the program.

But the numbers are still small. Air Force data show that only five percent of cadets who embark on the tough training course are females, and only four percent of the cadets become pilots. The success rate among males is over 20 percent.

Among last year's graduates, only one female cadet graduated successfully - but as an Air Force crew member, not as a pilot.

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