In the past, women in the ranks the IAF were a rare sight. These days, women operate as pilots, technicians, fighters and commanders. In honor of the upcoming international Women’s Day, IAF Magazine gives you a peek into the inspiring stories of women throughout the Force
The First Female Pilot to graduate the IAF’s Pilot Training Course
First Lieutenant Yael Rom is a graduate of the fifth IAF Pilot Training Course. She began her journey alongside 100 other cadets, but only 18 received their wings. During the Suez Crisis, Yael Rom was included in the operation with the other pilots who parachuted a infantry of IDF paratroopers over the scene as a Dakota pilot. “We had a hard time during the course”, she said to the IAF Magazine a while back. “We had no idea which of us is or will be a good pilot since most of the instructors thought they had to be stricter than usual and make us miserable. I will give them credit: with intense ambition and extreme discipline over certain subjects they were able to build the structure of IAF for the next generations”.
The First Iron Dome Battery Commander
Captain Revital is the first fighter who was promoted to become the first female Iron Dome battery Commander. During “Pillar of Defense”, she oversaw dozens of fighters and technicians under tremendous pressure, and in a very tense moment even intercepted a missile aimed to hit an Iron Dome Battery protecting Ashkelon. Revital was unfazed by her groundbreaker status, and said in an interview to the IAF Magazine: “It feels very natural to me since men and women operate together in our formation from the very first moment”. “Some women are Hawk and Patriot battery commanders, and so there is no reason that there shouldn’t be a female Iron Dome battery commander”.
First Control Tower Female Commander
Major Tami Kraus (Res.) is the first women to command over a Control Tower. She began her journey in 1975 as a flight controller at Tel Nof Airbase. “When I arrived at the tower, the commander said that women can’t succeed in this area”, she reminisces. “Even before he said that, I was intent to succeed but at that moment I was truly determined”. Days later, Kraus embarked on her officers’ course and began climbing the control tower ladder of the force. She oversaw control towers in airbases and as the years passed, became Head of the Flight Control Unit. “I dealt with solders that had a problem with the fact that I am a woman”, she says, “but as an officer, I had the confidence and power. It definitely made a difference”.