The commander of the Israel Defense Forces Duvdevan counterterrorism unit welcomed the first female combat doctor to join an elite unit at a ceremony on Sunday.
"This is the unit's new doctor. Wish her good luck," Lt. Col. Y. told his soldiers at a special welcoming meeting for Dr. Shani.
"I know that I am blazing a new trail and making history, and I am waiting for the action and to take part in special field operations with the combat soldiers. I am not afraid -- on the contrary, I am ready and in good shape," she said in an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom.
Shani, 29, is prepared for the job, both as soldier and a medical professional. In the last few weeks, after beating out three other candidates (all of whom were male), she undertook a combat counterterrorism course with soldiers from the Duvdevan unit at the IDF's Mitkan Adam army base.
"It was a difficult course, grueling, but very important for my operational training," she said. "I connected well with the other soldiers and even had the opportunity to treat a soldier who injured his knee and needed medical assistance."
Y. observed Shani during the course. "Initially, I was a bit surprised when they suggested a female doctor, but after I interviewed her, I understood she suited the position very well," he said.
He stressed that he is "not even concerned for a minute that she will be in the field [with the soldiers]."
"She was the top in many of the special course's parameters, and I advise [them] not to mess with her," Y. added.
As it turns out, trailblazing is in her blood. Her mother made history as the first female lieutenant-colonel of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.
According to Shani, she experienced her share of hardships. "The beginning was not easy. It took time to connect to such a large group of male combat soldiers."
Shani is, however, now excited to begin her new job. "Let's get going already," she said. "I can't wait to go out into the field with the other soldiers. I am really ready for it."