In first, haredi woman accepted to El Al’s pilot training program

Airline praises new recruit ‘Nechama’ as ‘an impressive woman with special abilities’

Illustrative photo of an El Al flight taking off at Ben Gurion Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90/File)
Illustrative photo of an El Al flight taking off at Ben Gurion Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90/File)

Israel’s national airline, El Al, accepted a haredi Orthodox woman into its pilot training program for the first time.

Identified in Israeli media only by her first name, Nechama, the new recruit is a mother of three children in her early 30s from a town near Jerusalem, the Channel 10 news site reported this week.

Nechama, who will be El Al’s first female haredi candidate, went to flight school in the United States after attending the Beit Ya’akov seminary. She applied to El Al several years after receiving a pilot’s license and returned regularly to the United States to fly in order to make the flight hour threshold required of candidates for El Al’s training program.

She succeeded in the tryouts and tests for El Al’s upcoming class, and received notice of her acceptance in recent weeks, according to the report. She is scheduled to begin training in approximately three months. An El Al spokesperson described her as “an impressive woman with special abilities and a high level of personal qualities,” according to Channel 10.

She was quoted as saying: “Being a pilot has always been a dream of mine. My husband is very supportive, and he is helping realize this dream.”

As the Jewish state’s national carrier, El Al only provides kosher meals to passengers and does not operate flights on Shabbat or Jewish holidays.

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