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August 24, 2022 4:18 pm

IDF Puts First-Ever Female Commander in Charge of Air Defense to Protect Israel’s Skies

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Lt. Col. Revital Barzani and her family. Source: Israeli GPO

Israel’s first female commander of an air defense corps will be in charge of the combat battalion tasked with protecting the country’s skies against ballistic missile threats and intercepting rockets.

Lt. Col. Revital Barzani, married and a mother of three, took up her position as Commanding Officer of the air defense corps’ 66th Battalion which operates the David’s Sling missile defense system to intercept short to medium-range rockets and missiles and manages alerts for incoming ballistic missiles to the home front.

“It is a great privilege for me to take command of the 66th Battalion, a battalion with a diverse history which plays a significant role in defending the skies of the country,” said Barzani at the IDF change of command ceremony on Tuesday. “This is a one-of-a-kind battalion, tasked with operating the ‘David’s Sling’ Defense System and in charge of coordinating alerts for the Israeli home front.”

“Through the experience and knowledge I have gained over the years, I enter a position in which I hold professional and operational influence as well as a substantial responsibility,” Barzani added.

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The 66th Battalion was host to the first self-propelled anti-aircraft battalion in the Israeli Air Force.

Barzani enlisted in the Israeli air defense corps in 2004 as a Hawk weapons system operator and has since held a number of positions, among them battery commander of the Hawk air missile defense system and the Iron Dome air defense system during military operations Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Protective Edge in 2014.

In June, the IDF’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi announced the establishment of a task force to integrate more women in combat roles as the army has a goal of boosting the number of female officers by 50 percent within the next five years.

“Hundreds of officers, both men and women, serve together in the Air Defense Corps. For many years, this force has been leading the integration of women in core positions,” said Barzani. “Over the past two years, the Air Defense Corps has also been leading the ‘Aiming High’ program, designed to utilize the command potential of our personnel in high-level positions, also among women.”

Last week, the Mossad spy agency appointed the first-ever woman as director of the intelligence service and revealed that another woman is the head of its Iran Desk.


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