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First woman to head Knesset defense committee

Orna Barbivai, a retired major general, is taking over one of the most enviable positions in Israel's male-dominated security establishment: head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Orna Barbivai receives the rank of major general from Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz as her husband and Defense Minister Ehud Barak look on, June 23, 2011.

The Knesset made history April 26 by appointing Orna Barbivai as chair of its Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Barbivai, the first woman to ever hold the position, is number two on Yesh Atid’s Knesset list after party founder Yair Lapid.

In normal times, Barbivai’s achievement would have been cause for celebration. Her story would undoubtedly have opened all the news shows. But these are not normal times. The political chaos plaguing the country has no end in sight and Barbivai, who was also the only female major general in the Israel Defense Forces, has been forgotten in the confusion.

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