The 165th class of Israel Defense Forces air force pilots graduated Thursday, and among this year’s graduates are four women, three of whom will serve as navigators and one who will serve as a flight engineer. This year’s class also includes the first religious woman to complete the grueling training course, who will be among the three female navigators. She is among the 16 percent of graduates who define themselves as religious or traditional.
One of the women told Israel’s Channel 2 “I do not think there should be a difference between boys and girls in the course – my parents are supportive and the course was challenging.”
Another said, “Everyone is very tolerant toward me and excited– even more so than I am.” Of any competition between her and her boyfriend she is dismissive, saying “He is not threatened, he is really positive.”
Israeli Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony. Besides warning of regional threats, most specifically Syria, he spoke of Israel’s strength in the sky.
“Pilots, today you become part of the long arm of the State of Israel. We have greatly strengthened the muscles in this arm. Israel’s hand is extended in peace to those who seek peace, and to those who threaten us – they should know that our long arm will strike forcefully in order to defend the State of Israel.”