Two Israeli women pass test, qualify to enroll in pilot course

JERUSALEM, Dec. 16 (JTA) — Israeli women may soon be flying high above the skies. Two years after Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that the Israeli air force cannot ban women from becoming pilots, two female cadets passed the qualifying courses to train as combat pilots. The Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported that if the two cadets, identified only as “S” and “L,” complete the combat course, they could become Israel’s first female combat pilots within a year. In a ground-breaking November 1995 ruling, the high court said women must be allowed into the air force’s pilot-training program. The woman who challenged the air force’s policy, South African-born Alice Miller, was ultimately unable to take the training course after she failed the qualifying exam. But her court battle opened the way for other female candidates. Earlier this month, El Al, Israel’s national airline, dropped a Catch-22 requirement that effectively prevented female pilots from working for the airline. The complaint was brought by Orit Katzir, a pilot with 10 years flying experience who was rejected by El Al as a candidate because she had not served in Israel’s air force. An attorney for Katzir welcomed the move as a major achievement for equal rights in the Israeli workplace.

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