As commanding officer of the Israeli Army’s Women’s Corps, Hedva Almog created training programs and promotion opportunities for female officers, working to create a better environment for women in the army. Almog joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1967 and from 1975 to 1978 was deputy commanding officer of the Women’s Corps. She then created a women’s branch at the officer’s training camp, increasing the number of courses open to women and doubling the number of women lieutenant colonels. She retired in 1991 and turned her hand to politics, joining the labor Zionist group Na’amat. She also served on the councils of the Jewish Agency and the Histadrut Workers’ Union. She joined Haifa’s City Council in 1999 and became the city’s deputy mayor in 2001.
The commanding officer of the Women’s Corps from 1987 to 1991, Hedva Almog was born in Haifa in 1948. Her father, Shmuel Yoffe (1917–1969), was born in Vilna (Poland). The family immigrated to South Africa in 1934. In 1939 Shemuel immigrated to Palestine from Johannesburg as the head of a Shomer ha-Za’ir group. A member of A voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of its members and their families.Kibbutz Hazor, he worked as an operations manager at Haifa port. In 1944 he married Geula (née Rosman, b. Sosnovitz, Poland 1922, d. 2001), a librarian by profession, who had also attended high school, immigrated to Palestine in 1934 and, like himself, served in the Jewish Brigade during World War II. Hedva has two sisters, Ruty (b. 1945) and Dalia (b. 1954). In 1982 she married Benny Almog (b. 1940), a technician. The couple have two sons: Ehud (b. 1983) and Roey (b. 1987). Almog holds a B.A. in education and literature (1980) and an M.A. in political science, both from Haifa University.
Almog joined the IDF in 1967 and until 1976 served in the Nahal, eventually rising to the position of OC Nahal Women’s Corps. From 1975 to 1978 she was deputy commanding officer of the Women’s Corps with the rank of lieutenant colonel before taking a leave of two years to complete her B.A. Returning to the IDF with the rank of lieutenant colonel, she established the women’s officers’ branch at the officers’ training camp. From 1981 to 1982, at the time of the Lebanon War, she was the commanding officer of the Northern Command Women’s Corps and then became commanding officer of the Central Training Camp for all servicewomen, where she developed a new system of selection and training. Promoted to the rank of colonel in 1982, she spent a year studying at the National Security Studies Center and in 1987 took over the position of OC Women’s Corps from Amira Dotan, at the same rank (brigadier general) as her predecessor. She remained in this position until 1991.
During her term of office, Almog stressed the importance of appropriate training for new recruits and established the base at Julis for absorbing them. The number of annual officer courses was increased, a training course for women officers in the Operational Branch was established, new occupations, such as airborne doctors, were opened for women officers and institutional posts increased. In addition, new courses for women officers (e.g. academic studies, course command) spearheaded the struggle for equal opportunity and care for servicewomen. The demand for an increase in the number of women officers at the rank of lieutenant colonel and nomination of a woman candidate for any post at this rank proved successful and in the course of four years the number of women lieutenant colonels doubled.
Upon her retirement from the IDF Almog became active in Na’amat, first heading its Haifa district branch (1994–1998) and going on, in 1998, to become its president, a post in which she remained for four years, directing a countrywide staff that numbered some five thousand workers. A member of the Haifa City Council since 1999, she served as deputy mayor in 2001. She has been on the board of the Port Authority (1997–2004) and of Shikmona Ltd., an Israel Government Company (1997–2000). An active member of the Zionist Labor Movement, she has served on the executive council of both the Jewish Agency and the Histadrut General Workers’ Union.
Almog is the author of A Guide for the Woman Recruit (1992).