A woman on a mission, IDF Lieutenant Colonel Shirly Subul  has built a career around transforming IDF soldiers‘ physical fitness.

Speaking at Stand With Us’ International Women’s Conference, Lieutenant Colonel and Tel Aviv resident Shirly Subul said since age 4 she aspired to serve in Israel’s armed forces. Realizing her dream, she currently serves in the IDF combat fitness department, where she has personally transformed the Lifestyle Branch into one of the most influential IDF branches, responsible for army athletics and encouraging soldiers to live a healthy life-style.

A professional athlete as a teenager, Lieutenant Colonel Subul put her sports dreams on hold to serve the State of Israel, first in the intelligence unit and then in an officers training course. Later on she served in the intelligence unit’s foreign relations department. During the Second Lebanon War, Lieutenant Colonel Subul’s best friend, Anat, was murdered in a suicide bombing and she spent five weeks in an underground bunker as the head of the operations division. Her army career took a different direction when she transferred to the combat fitness department, where Lieutenant Colonel Subul combines her passion for serving Israel with her love of athletics and sports.

Lieutenant Colonel Subul places special emphasis on IDF commanders, believing that their physical condition has a great effect on the army as a whole. Lieutenant Colonel Subul is also known for whipping high ranking officers into better shape and has even put obese Israeli commanders on a six month program of diet combined with exercise. In order to keep Israeli soldiers in shape, she organized four marathons and is planning a fifth. Lieutenant Colonel Subul also organizes swimming and bicycling sessions and has special programs for women.

Lieutenant Colonel Subul has a BA in gender studies and sociology from Tel Aviv University and is a pioneer in this field. As a female IDF officer, Lieutenant Colonel Subul emphasizes that women serving in the IDF enjoy full gender equality, explaining that 92 percent of the positions within the IDF are open to women, with nearly 59 percent of Israeli women enlisting to serve. Women represent 33 percent of the IDF’s labor force and the number of female IDF officers continues to rise. Israel is also the only country in the world to have mandatory military service for women. “There are so many opportunities for women in the Israeli Defense Forces,” she exclaims, with Israeli women to be found in the artillery corps, armored divisions, infantry, and intelligence units.

Featured in: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/female-idf-officer-upgrades-diet-exercise/2013/08/07/

By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel