‘A great feeling, as if we’re trailblazers’

Two of the four women soldiers cited for being "gender pioneers" in their army assignments – one a drone technician, the other an air-ground liaison officer – tell ‘Post’ about their roles.

April 17, 2013 05:36
2 minute read.

SGT NOA SHAKED 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)


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Four of the 37 women soldiers recognized for outstanding service by President Shimon Peres yesterday are considered pioneers in that they are filling roles usually filled by men. Two – a drone technician and an air -ground liaison officer, both serving in the IAF, spoke to The Jerusalem Post this week about their service.

Cpl. Shelly Moshe serves at the Tel Nof Air Base, near Rehovot, as a technician for the Eitan (also known as the Heron TP) drone, a massive unarmed aircraft capable of flying as far as Iran and back.

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“I completed a pre-military course months before being drafted,” she said. “Then I joined an electronics training course, before taking a course on drones.”

She trained at Haifa and the Palmahim Air Base, near Rishon Lezion, and then was sent to Tel Nof. Today, Moshe is able to care for all aspects of the drone, from its mechanics, to its complex electrical components, to its computer.

“It’s me and one more female soldier – we’re the only women ones doing this.
It’s a great feeling, as if we’re trailblazers. I hope many more female soldiers follow us. There’s no reason why women can’t be technicians. We’re already doing it,” Moshe said.

The Eitan drone, made by Israeli defense firms Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, “has amazing capabilities for intelligence gathering, patrols and reconnaissance,” she added.

Sgt. Noa Shaked is an Israel Air Force liaison officer tasked with keeping the IAF in touch with the ground forces in southern Israel, along the border with Egypt.

Shaked is stationed with the army’s 80th Division, and arrived a year-and-a-half ago, after the August 2012 crossborder attack from Sinai by al- Qaida-affiliated jihadis.

“The IDF decided it had to have an IAF representative here,” Shaked said, adding that the incident proved to be a game-changing attack that underscored the growing threat from the Sinai Peninsula.

At first, the ground forces she was sent to stay in touch with did not keep Shaked updated, she said. Shaked was not quickly notified of security developments, “because they weren’t used to reporting these to me. Then, the situation changed. Now, the division doesn’t know what to do if they haven’t notified me of an incident within an hour of it happening.”

Shaked is always on call.

“When something happens, at any time, I go to the command room, and if necessary, coordinate aircraft activities with ground forces,” she said.

Her job includes transmitting the coordinates of targets when the IDF attacks.

“I feel honored to have my current role. I see the difference in the situation before and after I arrived, and this brings me huge satisfaction. It’s exciting to know that the unit appreciates our work – it’s not just me, but the whole crew – and that our officers recommended us [for the award],” she said.

The two other female soldiers cited by the president on Tuesday were Sgt. Anat Daniel Ovadia, a helicopter mechanic, and Sgt. Eina Shainfeld, a sniper instructor serving in the IDF’s counterterrorism school.

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