Israel names first female major general

By Jennifer Lipman, May 27, 2011
Brigadier Orna Barbivay

Brigadier Orna Barbivay

The Israeli army has appointed its first ever female major general.

Brigadier Orna Barbivay will begin her role as the commander of the IDF's Manpower Branch next month. The mother-of-three has served in the IDF since 1981.

Likud leader Tzipi Livni praised the decision. She said: "There is no rank that is too heavy for a woman's shoulders.

"It sends a clear, correct message to society in Israel, both men and women."

Women make up nearly 35 per cent of all Israeli soldiers, and the IDF is unique amongst the world's armies in drafting women into mandatory military service. In 2000, a woman called Alice Miller prevailed in a court battle to force the Israeli Air Force to accept her on to their pilot training course.

Last updated: 11:19am, May 27 2011