Dr. Aliza Lavie, a former member of Knesset and author of “Iconic Jewish Women: 59 Inspiring Courageous Revolutionary Role Models for Young Girls,” spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva on the changing status of women over the years, women’s roles in the IDF and on October 7th, and the inspiring personalities of 59 women depicted in her new book.

Dr. Lavie believes that in the current times “we need more opinions, different types of decision makers. We don't have enough women giving their opinions. It's not a question of feminism, it’s more that we're in the middle of war, and hearing men alone is not enough, and women alone is not enough. We have to hear other points of view, ideas, understanding, and experience. I think there are not enough women in significant positions and unfortunately many of the men that are involved these days were there before October 7th. I was in the Knesset at the time, and there are a lot of protocols asking questions, but no answers.”

According to Lavie, "Women, such as Orit Strock, ask the right questions that can bring about change, to fight misconceptions. From the beginning, the IDF was led by men, but for the past fifteen years, we have seen more women involved. This is not thanks to the men, but thanks to women activists. When I was an officer in the army, there were only three options for women, but today 97% of positions in the army are open for women. It takes time, but we are seeing a change.”

Dr. Lavie is proud to talk about women’s achievements, “Speaking of women in the sky, we must mention Tzviya Lubatkin, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto, whose granddaughter is the first female pilot in the IDF. This is thanks to women before her who enabled this opportunity, such as Alice Miller, who went to the Supreme Court. I want to emphasize that I believe that everyone is equal, but that the opportunities have to be open for everyone. We have to enable the point of view and understanding of women to be heard. We have to bring back the knowledge of women that was here before us. As a member of the Israeli Parliament, I have many questions and I have not always found answers. I believe that women can bring knowledge and experience to society and society is much better as a result. The situation will increase, and this will be for daughters, wives, and all women around us.”

“But,” asserts Dr. Lavie, “The problem is that we still don't have stability, many questions are still on the table; what is going on about identity? I had this book translated. It's not only a translation, but it's rewriting the stories of our sisters who can't read Hebrew. Moreover, the stories were adapted to be relevant for the Jewish Diaspora. My goal is that young girls should be inspired and find their own role model. Why are there so many stories of famous men, but not as many of women, such as Emma Lazarus? Why not learn and understand her story, and what it can bring to my life as an American Jewish girl? But it’s also for women, because I found that many women are not that familiar with our history as Jewish women, and we can bring answers from the past to our life and learn about the experiences that these women had in previous generations.”

Dr. Lavie discloses that “following the events of October 7th, there will be another book about this generation of heroes and heroines. I want to talk again about finding your voice. There were many examples of heroism, but I believe that we didn't pay enough attention to all these voices. We have to ask why because we see the results. I think many people now understand that we have to put more attention and diversity into seeing what actually happened here on October 7th and that there are a lot of answers that we don’t have yet. So, this book is bringing more tools to the discussion, to the understanding, to the situation and we have to be a little bit modest to understand that we don't know everything. We need to learn and we need to share and become familiar with our history because sometimes you can find answers in the past. That's what happened to me, and I want to share them and also develop more voices in our generation.”

Dr. Lavie concludes, “During the process of writing the book, I was very inspired. I wasn't that familiar with all these stories, and I asked myself why it was that. You know Miriam the prophet and Rachel our matriarch, but there are Emma Lazarus, Henrietta Szold, and other American women who did so much for us, and many other small stories inside the big stories of the 59 inspiring role models, not only for young girls but also for women, men, and families.”