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
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
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.
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.
always soldiers around me, doing so much for me. I wanted to find a way to thank
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
“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
“You can do whatever you want. Don’t be afraid to dream big.”