International Women’s Day 2023 – Adi Bershadsky

International Women’s Day 2023 – Adi Bershadsky


Adi Bershadsky

Col. (res.), Israeli Air Force, board member of Israel Aerospace Industries, member of Forum Dvora
Photo: Yifat Yogev

A lot has been said about the lack of women’s representation in this government. Do you think this criticism is correct and should gender equality outweigh political considerations of the parties?

I Definitely agree. The common term in Israel as described in laws and regulations is “appropriate representation” for women (it is difficult to translate from Hebrew to English). It should be changed and we have to claim equal representation in the: government, Knesset (the Israel parliament), the Knesset committees, throughout government offices, among members of the local authorities councils, on the boards of public companies, etc. To summarize, equal representation for women and men will lead us to better society and [provides] a lot of advantages [that will produce a] situation that will lead to higher outputs at all levels.

Minority issues at times intersect and we have seen this significantly in the recent protests to reforms the government plans to make. Do you think that this overlap strengthens the struggle for women’s rights or does it depreciate the issue?

In my opinion, it reduces (negatively impacts the cause) because half of society is divided around very fundamental issues that are not only related to the issue of gender, but issues one level above, and there is no attention [paid] to women. That’s why I think that at this time we need to quickly reach achievements for equal representation of women within organizations that are not subject to the government, such as: boards of public companies, corporations of local authorities, and more.

How has the role of women in the policy world (beyond political leadership – journalism, academia, defense etc.) in Israel evolved over the years, and what progress still needs to be made?

From my point of view the situation is very disappointing that we are in 2023 and the situation of equal representation of women is going backwards instead of forwards. In order for the situation to be changed, men, who are currently the majority in key areas of decision-making, need to be proactive so that there is equal representation of women at every decision-making table – encourage the appointment of women to positions of CEOs, VPs and so on. I was the first colonel in the history of the Israeli Air Force because first and foremost I had all the qualifications and because the commander of the Air Force decided to appoint a woman and break the paradigm that a woman cannot be a colonel in the Air Force. Later I was appointed to be a military attaché – the first woman military attaché in the history of the IDF – first of all because I had all the qualifications and secondly [because] the Chief of Staff set a goal to appoint a woman to the post of IDF attaché.

Taking into consideration that a significant part of the population in Israel is conservative (both ultra-Orthodox, religious-Zionist, and much of the Arab sector), what can be done to educate the next generation about gender issues?

Educate at an early age girls, as well as boys, who need to dream and act to make their dreams come true. And to continue and inculcate women that one should continue to dream and make dreams come true now.
I abide by [my own] procedure for a five-year plan for life that I build for myself every five years (like the long-term plan in the IDF or in a business organization) for more than 35 years. In it, I compose a vision, goals, objectives, and the way to achieve them for myself. It’s wonderful that dreams come true.

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