IDF to increase senior female officers by 50% in 5 years, chief of staff says

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi says he intends to put forth a plan that would see the number of female senior officers rise by 50 percent within the next five years, which would be a bolder objective had the number of promotions of female officers for top positions not fallen dramatically in recent years.

In his more than two years as chief of staff, Kohavi has promoted no women to the rank of major general and only promoted one woman, who was tapped to serve as the chief intelligence officer of the Central Command, to the rank of brigadier general. According to a recent Haaretz tally, of the nearly 200 officers promoted to the rank of colonel under Kohavi, 19 of them have been women.

Head of the IDF Armored Corps Brig. Gen. Guy Hasson, center, poses on a tank with the army’s first female tank commanders, who graduated their course on June 28, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

There are currently zero female major generals in the IDF, and there haven’t been since 2014 when the so far only one retired from the military, and only six female brigadier generals, some of whom have not actually received their ranks officially, but — for bureaucratic reasons — are only permitted to wear them as their position demands them.

Kohavi’s announcement comes on International Women’s Day. The military says the chief of IDF staff’s plan will be put together within the next three months.

“We must act to increase the number of female senior officers by 50 percent within the next five years and to increase the number of women serving in technology and cyber roles,” Kohavi says.

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