‘A story to tell my grandkids’ – Meet Israel’s first female mine sweeper

Twenty-year-old Eden Zer from Israel’s south says “there’s never a dull moment” at her job.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A 20-year-old from the southern town of Omer is making history as the first-ever woman to work as a mine clearer in the Jewish state.

But Eden Zer did not set out to make history when she decided to apply for the position in the Israel National Mine Action Authority (INMAA), which is a subdivision of Israel’s Defense Ministry.

“My boyfriend and I saw a job opening for mine clearers, applied, and were accepted,” she explained, according to a Facebook post by the Defense Ministry.

“When I was told I was the first woman to hold this job, I was surprised and very moved,” she added.

Zer noted that she has an extensive background in field work after serving in the IDF’s engineering corps as an instructor for mechanical equipment, and that helped ease the transition to her new role.

Acknowledging that the field is currently male-dominated, she said that “the [work] environment is indeed masculine, but I am treated as an equal among equals. I hope more girls will pursue these positions.

“This is an interesting and challenging job that requires focus and alertness.”

Speaking to Ynet, Zer said that she particularly enjoys the exciting and unpredictable nature of the work.

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“There is never a dull moment, the goal is always to locate the next mine,” she said.

“The adrenaline is crazy, and what’s for sure is that I will have a story to tell my grandchildren. Only now do I understand how many mines are planted in the land here.”

“Eden is a pioneer,” Sharon Haddad, director of INMAA, said in a statement.

“I hope that thanks to her, more female [engineering corps] instructors will come to us, as well as young women without any previous training, to clear minefields and former combat zones.”

Zer is currently clearing mines near the Dead Sea, in the Qasar al-Yahud area. The region, which contains a number of historical sites and monasteries, has been closed to visitors since 1967 due to the thousands of unexploded land mines placed in the area during the Six Day War.

According to INMAA’s website, “once the clearance is complete, the church plots will be returned to their respective denominations and visitors will once again be able to visit these holy sites.”