This week the 124th class of IDF Naval Officers, including three women, completed their training and were stationed on deck Israeli Navy vessels. One of them, Lieutenant (junior grade) Or, has been a professional swimmer for seven year before enlisting, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Omer’s father has been a skipper for many years and she has been sailing since she was ten years old.
As to the dynamics on board a Navy ship, the female naval officers know they are expected to flawlessly overcome every challenge, exactly like their male counterparts.
“In the beginning you have to prove you are here because you deserve to be here, without any favors or shortcuts,” said Omer. “Once you complete the training, the male soldiers treat you like one of the guys, the differences are barely noticeable. We feel extremely comfortable.”
While most IDF women serve only two years, these three officers have already served through the 36-month naval officers’ course, as graduates will be required to sign up for at least an extra 16 months.
“Some people don’t understand why I’m here, since right now I could already be released from the army and start my life,” Or said, smiling. It turns out there’s an unexpected upside to her extraordinary commitment: “Boys ask me about my military service, what it’s like to succeed and complete the course. It’s extremely encouraging,” she said.
Who can resist a woman in uniform?