The mission kicked off with a briefing on challenges in the Middle East from Dr. Anat Berko, MK, Member of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee and Head of the Sub-Committee of Cyber Security. the group then visited the City of David, the actual location of the biblical city of Jerusalem that was captured by King David over 3,000 years ago. Participants learned about women in the bible during this specialized tour and then enjoyed a festive Shabbat dinner at the stunning home of Aba and Pamela Claman in the Old City.
Participants experienced Jerusalem’s rich history through a walking tour of Jerusalem’s historic Old City with an emphasis Christian and Jewish history. There was a lecture given at the hotel by Dvorah Forum, a professional network of senior women in foreign policy, security, public policy, and law who aim to advance the standing of women in the IDF and in all of Israeli society. Featured speakers were Adv. Deborah Housen-Couriel, former member of Israeli Prime Minister’s Cyber Initiative, Col. (res.) Miri Eisin, former international advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister and former Head of the IDF Combat Intelligence Corps, Dr. Michal Hatuel-Radoshitzky, Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. After the exciting day, the group dined out in Jerusalem.
The day began with an emotional visit to the Hall of Remembrance for Fallen Soldiers on Mount Herzl followed by a drive to spend time with the Lions of the Jordan Valley Battalion. An infantry battalion comprised of both male and female combat soldiers who are primarily responsible for securing Israel’s eastern borders.
Heading to the north, the group visited an outpost looking across the border into Syria and heard a special briefing on the situation by the Region Commander, Brig. Gen. Avi Gil. Next, the group visited the female soldiers on lookout who serve as the eyes of the border at the 595 Ait Field Intelligence Battalion. After they made an emotion visit to a memorial for 73 soldiers killed in a 1997 helicopter disaster.
The day kicked off visiting an observation point at Hula Valley, an agricultural region with abundant fresh water. It is a major stopover for birds migrating along the Syrian-African Rift Valley between Africa, Europe, and Asia. Next, they visited Ziv Hospital in Zfat and meet with Col. (Res.) Dr. Salman Zarka, head of the Israeli humanitarian hospital that treats victims of the civil war in Syria and with Lt. Col (res) Marco Moreno. A special consultant working with organizations dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to Syrians.
After they visited Michve Alon base that specializes in education programs before travelling to Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv, they met at The Israel Space Agency with Inbal Kreiss, Deputy General Manager Space Division Systems missiles & Space Group Israel Aerospace Industries. Inbal Kreiss was awarded the “Woman of the Year” title by Globes Magazine in 2012, and in 2014 she was voted one of the 10 most inspiring women in tech in Asia. The Israel Space Agency is a part of Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology that coordinates all Israeli space research programs.
The day ended with a optional activity to take part at Koolulam, a nation-wide mass singing event that brings people from the diverse, multi-cultural Israeli society together for an evening of song. Attracting thousands of participants each year at events that take place simultaneously in cities across Israel, this Koolulam event is sponsored by mission participant, Shira Ruderman’s family foundation as part of their Link20 initiative. Link20 aims to raise awareness for people with disabilities and promote inclusion and social justice. The idea behind Koolulam is to stop everything for a few hours and simply sing together, with no division.
They started the day visiting an Israeli Air Force Base, featuring the most advanced technology in aeronautics in the world. The group spent lunch with a panel discussion about FIDF’s LEGACY program about support for those who have lost love ones in the IDF the night was spent freely to explore Tel Aviv.
The day started with a visit to the Kirya, the IDF Headquarters, and meet with the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff, as well as female IDF Combat Officers. Next, they went on a private tour of of Israel’s prestigious Maskit Fashion House. Lastly the group had farewell dinner to celebrate the week’s journey.