Orna Barbivai

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Orna Barbivai
Orna Barbivai.jpg
Born (1962-09-05) September 5, 1962 (age 53)
Allegiance  Israel
Service/branch Flag of the Israel Defense Forces.svg Israel Defense Forces
Years of service 1981–2014
Rank IDF aluf rotated.svg Aluf (Major general)
Unit Manpower Directorate
Commands held

Orna Barbivai (Hebrew: אורנה ברביבאי‎‎; born September 5, 1962) is a Major General in the Israel Defense Forces and the former head of its Manpower Directorate. She was the first woman to be made Major-general (Aluf), the IDF's second highest rank.[2][3][4]


Growing up in a family of eight children in Afula, Israel, Barbivai is the daughter of Tzila, a Jewish immigrant from Iraq, and Eli Shochetman, a Jewish immigrant from Romania. She was drafted into the IDF in 1981 and has spent her entire career as an officer in the Manpower Directorate.[3] Barbivai holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences and Humanities from Ben Gurion University and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Haifa University. She is also the graduate of the "Turn-point" administration course for senior military officials.[1]

Military career[edit]

Barbivai was the first female to hold the IDF positions of Chief Adjutant Officer of a Command, Chief Adjutant Officer, Head of the Ground Forces' manpower section and head of the Individuals' Sector in the Manpower Directorate.[1]

On 26 May 2011, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved her appointment as head of the IDF's Manpower Directorate, replacing Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir. The promotion of Barbivai, a mother of three, to the rank of Major General was praised by Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni who said that "there is no rank that is too heavy for a woman’s shoulders, and there is no doubt that Brig.-Gen. Barbivai was appointed because of her talents."[3]

On 23 June 2011, Barbivai received her Maj. Gen. ranks and the Manpower Directorate command during an official ceremony at the Chief of Staff headquarters in Camp Rabin.[5]