Israel's latest firefighter course accepted seven new women trainees, a record breaking number in its history.
Reshef Yifat Frankenburg, the woman in charge of gender equality at the fire commission, said she was pleased.
"It is a festive day for fire fighting," she said. "To open an operational course for firefighters with seven women trainees is a huge accomplishment."
As of today, out of 2,150 total firefighters in Israel, only 15 are women. In all of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, the largest in Israel, there is only one woman firefighter - Iris Falach-Zarini, who has been serving in the Holon station for four years. She was assigned to be a commander in the course, which began this week.
"In my course, four years go, I was the only woman," she said. "Another woman enrolled in the following course but she was also the only one female. Now, you can feel the difference," she said reveling in the strength and feminine power of the recruits.
"All of the sudden a number of women that will be skilled fighters are being admitted, so yes, we're excited, and its fun, she said."
Reshef Frankenburg explained that encouraging women to join the force was a difficult process.
"We've worked hard in order to expose women to the field and get them to come to the selection processes. In the past, there was one women in the firefighter course at best. Seven women in this course is almost half of the number of women amongst all firefighters deployed in total," she said.
The new course comes at the time of the Supreme Court ruling that enables admission of women to several special units in the IDF. The ruling also approved a series of strict criteria for admission, including minimum weight, height, and physical capabilities.
In contrast to the new military requirements, there are no height or weight requirement for women who want to enlist in the firefighter course. However, the women candidates are required to meet the same standards that are required of men.
Women still make up a minority among the firefighting recruits - 171 men trainees have joined the course along with them.
The 178 trainees were hand picked out of thousands of applicants after they successfully completed the selection process, which combines challenging physical, mental, and social tests.
"In the selection simulations and in the course , every trainee is tested based on professional criteria, without any slack given because of gender," Reshef Frankenburg said.
One of the seven women who recently enlisted Sapir Bouskila from Ashkelon, a well-known soccer referee. "Its a huge honor to start the firefighter course," she said.
"Its fun to break glass ceilings and prove that a woman can succeed at all jobs and are not inferior... for me it is a dream come true."
Maayan Nachum, another one of the seven women, was a volunteer firefighter for seven years, and served as a combat soldier in the IDF.
"The challenge is convincing women that it they are able to turn a job that is considered masculine, into a career for themselves alongside childbirth and motherhood," Nachum said. "Women firefighters will be a blessing, and a powerful and essential addition."
Fire and Rescue Commissioner Eyal Caspi commented on the milestone: "The integration of women in the operational side of firefighting will only move grow from here," Caspi said.