The Israeli Air Force’s elite pilot training course has seen a 60% jump in the number of young women applying to become military pilots.
According to Israel’s Channel 2 news on Friday, 174 young women made it to the trial period before official selection in 2015, which tops the 109 mark in 2013, and 150 in 2014.
This increase began after the IDF removed quotas for the number of women who could apply for the pilots course four years ago. Today, there are no caps on the number of men and women who can apply for the pilot training course, but applications are only accepted from candidates who have passed stringent IDF screening.
The new figures come 20 years after South African-born Israeli Alice Miller successfully petitioned the High Court of Justice to allow women to be accepted as flight candidates.
“Women can be pilots of the same caliber as men,” said one Maj. Efrat, adding that the reason there were fewer women pilots than men was simply because fewer women applied. Efrat has been a cargo pilot out of Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv for 11 years.
“I am certain the upward trend will only continue in the next few years,” Lt. Col. Yardena, the head of selection and admissions in the Air Force, told Channel 2. “We see a positive trend concerning the integration of women into combat roles generally, and piloting specifically.”
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