The Women’s Affairs Advisor visited an Israeli Navy base in Haifa to see how well women have been integrated into the corps

Date: 24/11/2010, 12:08 PM    

Women’s Affairs Advisor, Brig. Gen. Gila Kalifi-Amir, visited one of Haifa’s Israeli Navy bases to see what positions women hold in the Navy and talk with female soldiers about their roles. Head of Manpower in the Israeli Navy, Col. Amit Farber, gave her guided tours through a number of docks in the base.

One of the most significant roles women fill in the Navy is that of control supervisor, responsible for safety of all Israeli coasts and, essentially, the “eyes of the Navy”. During her meeting with women control supervisors, the Women’s Affairs Advisor was told about the many attempted terrorist attacks thwarted because of their very warnings. The Women’s Affairs Advisor was impressed to find that the navy’s entire control of the sea and the State of Israel’s control of the sea relies on women.

Later in her tour, the Women’s Affairs Advisor saw the Eilat Sa’ar-5-model missile boats, the Kidon Sa’ar-4.5-model missile boats and a submarine simulator where she watched and even took part in an enemy interception exercise. The Head of Manpower in the Israel Navy took the opportunity to tell her about efforts to develop the position of control supervisors, among them by integrating religious women into the Navy. The Women’s Affairs Advisor responded to this effort saying it is “Based on important values and shows great humanity.”

Brig. Gen. Kalifi later said she sees the integration of women in the IDF (Zahal) as a “a great value that society is developing and strengthening” but stressed that the IDF (Zahal)’s main purpose remains the protection of the citizens of Israel and that every “effort for the promotion of women in the IDF (Zahal) will be done according to the IDF (Zahal)’s operational needs and not according to what will make headlines.”

During the visit, Head of Manpower in the Israeli Navy, Col. Amit Farber, presented data from a recent Navy survey showing that 77% of women soldiers in the corps are proud to serve in the navy, that most of them are happy with their military service and that 63% of them would recommend a similar service to their female friends. Brig. Gen. Kalifi responded saying that “women are an integral part of Israeli society and we must work to integrate them into the army as we must integrate orthodox Jews and immigrants.” She added that this integration is in the interest of Israeli society and will benefit the entire IDF (Zahal).