The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Yehudit Ben-Natan

b. 1950

by Alice Shalvi

Yehudit Ben-Natan headed the Israel Defense Forces’ OC Women’s Corps. Photograph by Gideon Markowitz, from the collection of the National Library of Israel, courtesy of the Danish Archive.

In Brief

Yehudit Ben-Natan is most known for her time as the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ OC Women’s Corps, where she waged a fierce campaign against the conservatism that marked everything related to the opening to women of new military occupations. She was particularly active in promoting women serving in the career army and tried to integrate women into combat units.

Article

Yehudit Ben-Natan was born in Romania in 1950 and came to Israel ten years later. During her military service she served first as the officer of the welfare division of the Israel Air Force Northern Command (1976–1979), then as the Women’s Corps officer of field units (1985–1988). She went on to be the commander of Training Base 12 (1989–1991) and was then appointed OC Women’s Corps.

During her three-year term in this position (1991–1994), Ben-Natan waged a fierce campaign against the conservatism that marked everything related to the opening to women of new military occupations. She was particularly active in promoting women serving in the career army and tried to integrate women into combat units. She herself attempted to participate in major decision making forums, such as those discussing the postings of senior officers, equalizing the selection process, and posting of women and men. She preserved the responsibility of the Women’s Corps for all servicewomen, furthered the operation of training for officers in Command headquarters and established additional training positions for women. She influenced the decision to grant servicewomen the right to disciplinary hearings before a woman officer. It was during her term as OC Women’s Corps that the ground was laid for Alice Miller’s Supreme Court action to permit women to apply for pilot training.

The holder of a B.A. degree in social work from Bar Ilan University and an M.A. in political science from the University of Haifa, Ben-Natan has served on the boards of directors of a number of national companies and was for six years (1998–2004) the chair of the comptroller committee and a member of the Human Resources committee of Israel Aircraft Industries. In 1999, she became the director of Ayanot Youth Village. Ben-Natan is married and has four children.

Have an update or correction? Let us know

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

How to cite this page

Shalvi, Alice. "Yehudit Ben-Natan." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 4, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/ben-natan-yehudit>.