First IDF female general joins Yesh Atid for Knesset race

Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid says he would want Orna Barbivai to serve as a senior cabinet minister.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

The IDF’s first-ever female general, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Orna Barbivai, is now running for political office. She has joined the Yesh Atid party list for the Knesset election on April 9.

At a news conference Tuesday, Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid said that he intends to ensure that Barbivai serves as a senior cabinet minister if Yesh Atid is part of the next government coalition.

The party leader described his new recruit as someone who has had “a life full of contributions to our security and our society, a life full of values, of giving and of leadership.”

The 56-year-old Barbivai was the head of the IDF’s personnel branch from 2011 to 2014, becoming the first woman to serve in the IDF General Staff.

Lapid, a former finance minister, views himself as a candidate for prime minister, though his party would receive far fewer seats in parliament than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in the upcoming election, according to public opinion polls.

According to one poll, on Israel’s Channel 10 News, Yesh Atid would receive only 11 seats compared to the Likud’s 30. Lapid is trying to sell Yesh Atid as a bridge between the political right and left in Israel, though he is not the only party with such a platform.

He is facing a challenge from the newly-formed party of former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz, who served at the helm of the Israeli military at the same time as when Barbivai was serving in the General Staff. The current opinion polls are fluctuating even as dramatic developments take place concerning the constellation of parties which will contest the April election.

Barbivai said that she is joining Yesh Atid because of “my identification with the values of the party and my respect for its experienced team.”