First Israeli female air force pilot…

From a May 2006 article:

First female Israel Air Force pilot dies at 74
By Itim

Yael Rom, the first female pilot in the Israel Air Force, died Wednesday in Haifa at age 74. She was the first woman in a Western country to complete a pilot’s course.

Rom, who was certified to fly seven types of planes, was the first woman to conduct a flight operation across enemy lines, and also the first female pilot on a civilian airliner.

After graduating high school in 1950, Rom worked in the cafeteria of a Sheikh Munis youth corps base. One day she served lunch to a group of commanders in the air training course, who suggested that she take the pilot’s examination.

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Rom took the offer without hesitating, and passed the examination along with 28 other members of the youth corps. Along with six other cadets, she continued to the basic pilot’s course, finishing in second place.

Rom served in the IAF for ten years in compulsory, professional, and reserve service.

In October 1956, as a 29-year old reservist lieutenant, Rom was one of two pilots who transported Israel Defense Forces paratroopers under the command of Lieutenant General Rafael Eitan to Mitla Pass in Sinai.

She also transported paratroopers under Mordechai Gur in an operation at A-Tur, and was pilot’s assistant in the first plane to land at Sharm al-Sheikh.

In 1957, long before Western carriers began hiring female pilots, Rom began working for Arkia airlines. In 1962 she had her first child, and resigned from IAF reserve duty.

In the late 1980’s, Rom competed for the Haifa mayoral office under the Likud party. She devoted her later years to advancing women’s rights in Israel, and initiated the Na’alah project, which encourages young women to study engineering.

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