‘Don’t be afraid to dream big,’ says one of two women to complete elite IDF officer course

21-year-old Noam Maoz talks to 'Post' upon completing her infantry officer course.

June 21, 2013 03:22
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers train in the Jordan Valley.

IDF Drill 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokeperson's Office)

When Noam Maoz stepped outside her Nahal Oz home in 2007, she found that a missile had landed near her front door.

“The kibbutz there gets hit a lot because it’s so close to Gaza. It wasn’t that bad – just a couple of holes in the door. It didn’t even wake me up,” she said during a phone interview on Thursday.

That same fearless attitude propelled Maoz through one of the most advanced officer courses in the IDF. On Wednesday, the 21-year-old completed her infantry officer course, one of two women out of almost 500 graduates.

It has not been easy. The course runs for eight months and only the most elite combat soldiers complete it.

“You never stop working out,” she said. “You have all kinds of training – navigations of 30 kilometers all by yourself, no map, no nothing. Then there is a week that literally doesn’t stop. We don’t sleep for three days. You carry your weight all week long – 25 kilos with the vest and weapon – and finish at sunrise by climbing the highest mountain in Israel. It even snowed that week.”

Maoz joined the IDF after living in Kansas for three years.

She graduated high school early at age 16 and never questioned coming back to Israel the year after.

“I had an amazing time in America but joining the army was an obvious choice,” she said. “Some of it had to do with growing up so close to Gaza.

There were always soldiers around me, doing so much for me. I wanted to find a way to thank them.”

In 2010, Maoz joined the IDF Spokesman’s Office. A year later she returned to boot camp, this time as a soldier in the Karakal male-female combat battalion. She underwent basic training, then advanced training, and then went on to complete the officers’ course.

The huge ceremony for the 500 soldiers filled the auditorium Tuesday night, and Maoz stood out, along with fellow female, Mior Rubach.

“What can I say? They’re all guys, even the commanders. They don’t understand our problems all the time,” she said.

“There’s a clear separation of course. We have our own room and our own bathroom. But they support and try to help us.”

“They’re not used to living with girls either,” she added.

But Maoz doesn’t think a female officer is a strange concept.

This week she’s going back to basic training. She will lead a group of new young women, perhaps a few of them as courageous as her.

“The whole thing was hard, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought of quitting. I want all women to know that there are no limits,” Noam said.

“You can do whatever you want. Don’t be afraid to dream big.”

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