Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Israel’s First Female Ultra-Orthodox El Al Pilot Flies Bibi To Greece

El Al’s first female ultra-Orthodox pilot was at the helm on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s flight this morning to Greece for a tristate summit with leaders of Greece and Cyprus. She snapped several pictures with the Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.

Image by twitter

Nechama Spiegel Novak, who was first officer on this morning’s flight, was the first Haredi woman inducted into El Al’s prestigious flight training program. A life-long passion for aviation led her to attend flight school in the U.S., to gain the flight hours she might have gained if she had served in the Israeli Air Force. She began the flight training in 2015.

At the time of her induction, an El Al spokesperson described her as “an impressive woman with special abilities and a high level of personal qualities,” according to

“Being a pilot has always been a dream of mine,” she said at the time. “My husband is very supportive, and he is helping realize this dream.”

The first Haredi man to join the Israeli Air Force was conscripted in 2010. When Israel was founded, the government exempted Haredi Jews from serving in the military; now the government is trying to conscript them but many resist service.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.