As far back as December last year, it was known that Col. “N.” – a female officer in the IDF – would be making history as the first woman to serve as the military aide to the president of the State of Israel.
On Sunday evening, it became a reality when Naama Rosen-Greenberg ceased to be anonymous, and was officially appointed to succeed Brig.-Gen. Ala Abu Rukon, who concluded three years of service in this post and a 32-year career in the IDF. It also happened to be his 25th wedding anniversary. Abu Rukon – a member of the Druze community – was appointed by then-President Reuven Rivlin with the approval of Benjamin Netanyahu who was serving as Defense Minister as well as prime minister, and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kohavi.
He was not the first Druze in this role.
That honor belongs to Brig.-Gen.(ret.) Hasson Hasson, who made history when appointed by former president Shimon Peres in 2008. No other Druze had previously served in this position though Hasson’s father-in-law Kamal Mansour had served as minorities’ adviser to six presidents.
If the Druze record is any indication, it is quite likely that Rosen-Greenberg, who has now been promoted to brigadier general, will not be the only woman to break through this particular glass ceiling.
Her appointment was made in coordination with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Kohavi.
Putting a pin
President Isaac Herzog and Kohavi pinned the insignia of her new rank on her shoulder tags to huge applause from a crowded auditorium filled with past and present IDF top brass, Druze dignitaries, representatives of all branches of the defense and security establishment and family members of the outgoing and incoming military aides, and former president Rivlin.
Rosen-Greenberg, 40, has served in the IDF for 22 years in a number of important roles. She is married with two children and prior to her current appointment served as Chief Intelligence Officer with the IDF Central Command.
The daughter of a father killed on active duty and the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, she said that she was very excited to take up her new duties, which she pledged to execute faithfully and to present the president with as accurate as possible an assessment of situations.
She also promised to be in close contact with bereaved families, families of loved ones in enemy captivity or missing in action, and with all the different security and intelligence services.
בטקס מרגש בבית הנשיא נכנסה הערב לתפקידה האישה הראשונה בתפקיד המזכיר הצבאי לנשיא המדינה, תא״ל נעמה רוזן גרימברג. pic.twitter.com/HO4ghHZnLh— יצחק הרצוג Isaac Herzog (@Isaac_Herzog) July 31, 2022
Rukon, Kohavi and Herzog in separate speeches each told her that she was making history but that she had been given the position on her merits, and not because she is a woman.
It was also emphasized that the military aide to the president is a very sensitive position.
With her experience in intelligence operations and strategic decisions, there was general confidence that she would fulfill her tasks with the same dedication and accomplishments as she had done in her previous positions.
Rukon, who before his appointment as military aide had served as Israel’s Defense Attaché in China, was widely praised as a paratrooper, combat officer, squadron commander, educator, diplomat and, above all, as a decent human being for whom Israel’s security was paramount.
He said that in the period that he had served as a military aide, he had been privileged to sit in on meetings with heads of state, diplomats, heads of security branches, widows, orphans, leaders of organizations and institutions, academics and more.
Although he was leaving the IDF, he said, the spirit of the IDF would remain with him forever.