First female IDF paratrooper Yocheved Kashi dies aged 93 - report

“She is an example and model of groundbreaking pioneering.” Brig.-Gen. Yehiel Gozel, chairman of the Paratroopers' Legacy Association, said.

Yocheved Kashi in 1950 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Yocheved Kashi in 1950
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The Israel Defense Forces' first-ever female paratrooper, Yocheved Kashi, died on Thursday at the age of 93, Ynet reported.

Kashi's funeral is set to be held on Friday in Paris, France.

Kashi enlisted in the Haganah at age 17. When the State of Israel was established, she joined the IDF women's corps, initially serving as a class commander and then graduating from an officer's course and becoming commander of the parachute folding unit at the parachuting school in Tel Nof.

Kashi wanted to experience skydiving for herself, so she asked to join a skydiving course, but was forbidden from doing so because she was a woman.

Ynet noted that this was despite the fact that other women, including Israeli war heroine Hannah Szenes, parachuted during World War II.

Parachutists demonstration at the opening of the III Macabbiah. Kashi is one of the soldiers participating. (credit: DAVID ELDAN/PUBLIC DOMAIN/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)Parachutists demonstration at the opening of the III Macabbiah. Kashi is one of the soldiers participating. (credit: DAVID ELDAN/PUBLIC DOMAIN/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

After finally receiving approval to join following numerous setbacks, Kashi parachuted a total of 12 times, including at the third Maccabiah, for which she was featured on the cover of the newspaper B'Mahana.

“It was clear to Yocheved that as the commander of the folding unit, she should experience the heavy responsibility assigned to her and the other folders since the lives of the fighting paratroopers depend to a large extent on the success of their duties. She is an example and model of groundbreaking pioneering.”

Brig.-Gen. Yehiel Gozel, chairman of the Paratroopers' Legacy Association

“In recent years, we get to hear about more units opening up to recruit girls in positions that were historically the share of only boys,” Brig.-Gen. Yehiel Gozel, chairman of the Paratroopers' Legacy Association, told Ynet. “So, about 72 years ago in 1950, a 21-year-old female officer named Yocheved Kashi fought to be admitted to the parachute course and succeeded in becoming the first female paratrooper in the IDF.”

“It was clear to Yocheved that as the commander of the folding unit, she should experience the heavy responsibility assigned to her and the other folders since the lives of the fighting paratroopers depend to a large extent on the success of their duties. She is an example and model of groundbreaking pioneering.”

Kashi's life after completing her IDF service

After Kashi completed her IDF service in 1952, she married painter Zvi Milstein and the couple moved to France, where Kashi lectured on plastic arts at the University of Paris.