They were recruited to the Air Force and continued to Officers School. Now, they have finished the final stage of their training in the IAF and have officially received their long-awaited officer’s ranks
Eilon Tohar | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer-Zubida
Over 100 graduates stood in the “Ouvda” Airbase’s parade ground and officially became Air Force Officers. Now, after finishing the final stage of their officer’s training, they will be distributed throughout the Force’s different units with Second Lieutenant and Lieutenant Ranks on their shoulders.
“It helped me grow”
One of the graduates is Second Lieutenant Nizan Zer Zion, who finished the final stage of her Officers training today, two years after she came to Israel in order to enlist.
Second Lieutenant Zer Zion was born in Israel but left for Switzerland with her family at the age of two. Her family made sure that she spoke Hebrew (in addition to six other languages) but following a visit, she decided to further strengthen her connection with Israel.
“I traveled to Israel and when I returned to Switzerland I asked myself: ‘why did I come back?’”, she shares. “The same day I booked a flight back to Israel and decided to enlist in the IDF. My mother was against it, but my mind was set”.
When she was positioned in the Air Defense School, she had no idea about air defense, but from the moment she began her military service, a sense of duty, motivation and commitment to the cause guided her. Nevertheless, she insists that regardless of what she gives from herself, she always feels she receives even more.
“I always wanted to be an Officer”, she admits. “My course commander was a very dominant figure that affected me deeply. Beyond that, I knew that I was moving to Israel for the army. If men serve an extra year, why shouldn’t I?” (In the IDF all Officers are required to serve at least one extra year).
Today, she is living with her mother’s friend in the city of Ra’anana and refuses to promise what course her life will take, but wishes to excel in her new position as an Instruction Officer in the Air Defense School and to be a good commander.
“There were tough moments”, she reflects on the journey she has been through. “On the first weekend that I spent in the base, all of the other soldier’s parents came to visit them and I was the only one that was alone. Nevertheless, it helped me grow”.
“Current events have reinforced our need for a powerful defensive force”
The unified Officers Course, which takes place in four cycles of training each year, trains cadets in various fields such as intelligence, operations, ground defense, maintenance, flight control and administration.
During their stay in the Air Forces Officers School, the cadets develop managerial and higher thinking skills, obtain commanding skills that will assist them as Officers and absorb values expected from Officers, while stressing the unique characteristics of the IAF.
“Current events have reinforced our need of a powerful defensive force, one that’s our own”, said Maj. Gen Amir Eshel, IAF Commander. “The Air Force is a main pillar in Israel’s safety, be it in defense or attack. The heavy responsibility of preserving an aerial defensive force, you, graduates, have chosen to bear on your shoulders. You are the successors. Today, you join the company of the commanders of the IAF. Each and every one of you will have a significant part of the IAF’s achievements and the molding of its identity. We are all looking forward to seeing your achievements and seeing you become a part of our amazing team. Its strength surpasses any technology. That is our ‘revealed’ secret”.
While about 40% of the cadets originate from the North or South and about 60% from the center of the country, the cadets who have just finished their training spread across the country.
Their age’s range from 19-26, 19 of them hold Bachelor’s Degrees and four of them are engineers. Two of them are Druze and no less than 83 of them originate from cities as opposed to 29 who originate from villages and communal settlements.