IDF Commander Finishes Beret March While Seven Months Pregnant
She was serving as a combat soldier, quickly became a commander, commanded soldiers in basic training while pregnant,
and finished a beret march with them — This is the story of Captain Yarden Shukrun, the first female commander of a
Home Front Command combat unit. For her, it’s just the beginning.
Captain Yarden Shukrun joined the army in 2004, and served as a combat soldier in the rescue unit of the Home Front Command. She later finished an officers course and became the first female combat commander in the Home Front Command. During her company commander course, she got married and six months later became pregnant. She decided to continue to as a commander until the eighth month of her pregnancy, wearing full uniform.
In the IDF, pregnant soldiers can choose to quit their military service, and career service officers are exempted from wearing a military uniform during any stage of their pregnancy. Also, they are entitled to special rights, as in any other workplace in Israel.
To Yarden, there was nothing unusual about continuing her job while pregnant, even when it required physical training in the field, working for many hours into the night and sleeping on a military base. ”It was the same as always, once you’re used to army life, the pregnancy shouldn’t matter,”’ she said. “ I didn’t think it mattered, and that’s what the doctors told me as well.”
Yarden said that the real challenges began when she joined the army, long before she became pregnant. “As a woman, I was always among men — as a combat soldier, as a squad commander, as a platoon commander, as the deputy company commander and now as a company commander — but I see it like there’s no difference.”
Yarden believes that one should not give excuses and should work as hard as possible for results. What matters, she says, is how much you give and the results of your actions.
“When I joined the army, I planned to become a combat soldier. It came from my heart. I had fun serving with guys — they always helped, supported and loved me along the way.”
Today, Yarden is completing her academic studies as part of her military service. In the meantime, she gave birth to another child, but she can’t wait to return to her military career. ”I’ll go back to any job that I would be needed for. I love my company, I love my battalion, and the Home Front command is an inseparable part of my life.”
They’re paratrooper instructors, Air Force operators, squad instructors and logistic specialists.
That’s right – this year, six of 20 nominees for the Miss Israel pageant are IDF soldiers.
Sgt. Gaya Shukun, one of the nominees, sees her participation in the competition as a mission. “I have a feeling that a lot of the models join the competition because they want to represent their country. Now that I’m in the army, I have a better insight into the real Israel. I see how badly we’re portrayed in the international arena, and as an IDF soldier, I feel a responsibility to better explain what really happens here.”
Sgt. Adi Levy says that her fellow soldiers are all behind her. “When I got into the competition, my commanders were really supportive. Their encouragement is something I really appreciated.”
Miss Israel 2013