Orna Barbivai becomes first female IDF major general

Maj.-Gen. Barbivai: “I'm proud to be the first woman to be major general and part of organization in which equality is a central principle.”

June 23, 2011 19:23
1 minute read.
Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai

Orna Barbivai 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)


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Orna Barbivai took up her post as head of the IDF Human Resources Directorate on Thursday and made history by becoming the first female officer in the IDF to be promoted to the rank of major general.

Barbivai, 49 and the mother of three, replaced outgoing head of the directorate Maj.-Gen. Avi Zamir who is retiring from the IDF after 35 years of service. Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Barbivai’s husband Moshe placed the new ranks on her shoulders.

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Barbivai has served her entire career in the directorate since her enlistment as a soldier. She climbed the ranks and served in the past as head of human resources in the Ground Forces Command as well as the head of the IDF Adjutancy Corp.

While women have sat before on the General Staff, it was only in the position of IDF Spokesperson, which holds the rank of brigadier general.

“I am proud to be the first woman to become a major general and to be part of an organization in which equality is a central principle,” Barbivai said. “90 percent of jobs in the IDF are open to women and I am sure that there are other women who will continue to break down barriers.”

Gantz said that Barbivai was promoted to the post due to her merits and professionalism and not as a gift.


“Orna received this job due to her successful professional career and the way she has carried out her other jobs over the years,” he said.

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