History in the making: Brigadier-General Orna Barbivai was named the IDF's first ever female major general Thursday, as part of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz' new nominations among the General Staff.
Barbivai, who serves at the IDF Personnel Directorate, was named the new head of the Personnel Directorate and will replace current Directorate Chief Maj.-Gen. Avi Zamir.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the nomination.
Brig.-Gen. Barbivai has served in various positions in the Personnel Directorate during her military career, including head of the Ground Forces Personnel Division and adjutant-general.
Brig.-Gen. Orna Barbivai told Ynet that she was excited: "This is a very happy day for me. I'm very excited." She further added she hoped her nomination will be the first of many.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Barbivai Thursday night and congratulated her on her historic nomination.
Netanyahu noted that there is "extreme importance to integrating women in top positions in the IDF, the defense establishment and the Israeli market in general," adding that "the nomination is a big step for Israeli society and also sends a message to nations worldwide."
Brig.-Gen. Orna Barbivai (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
Former IDF Spokesperson and MK Miri Regev (Likud), who initiated a law mandating the IDF to name women to its top echelon, welcomed the decision: "I have no doubt that this nomination will open the door to many women officers who wish to climb higher in the chain of command. I hope this nomination won't turn out to be a one-time thing."
MK Dr. Einat Wilf (Independence) echoed the sentiment, saying she welcomed "this desired precedent in the IDF's history. I hope this is only the beginning and that we will soon see more and more women in key positions in the defense establishment."
Other nominations approved Thursday include the promotion of Gaza Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg to the rank of major-general. Eisenberg was named Home Front Command chief and will replace Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan.
Maj.-Gen. Golan was named GOC Northern Command, and will replace current Northern Command Chief Gadi Eizenkot.
Major-General Eizenkot is expected to take a sponsored leave for his studies. Once he returned to active duty, he is likely to be named deputy chief of staff.
Moran Azulay contributed to this report
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