Program to delve into the experiences of women in U.S., Israeli navies


The Israeli consulate for New England is hosting a webinar on June 3 featuring U.S. and Israeli female naval leaders, who will share and compare their experiences in the navy of each nation.

“Making Waves: Reflections of Israeli and U.S. Female Naval Leaders” grew out of a meeting between Ruth Kaplan, director of community relations for the Consulate General of Israel to New England, and Or Cohen, Rhode Island’s shlichah (emissary) from Israel.

Kaplan says that while Cohen is modest about her achievements, she learned that Cohen was the first woman in the Israeli navy to command a patrol boat.

That encounter provided motivation to create a program about the Israeli military in general and its treatment of women in its ranks – and that grew to include women in the U.S. Navy. What do these women officers have in common, and what can they learn from one another? Is the American experience different from the Israeli experience? How solid are those glass ceilings?

In addition to Cohen, the panel for the June 3 webinar will feature Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, the first female president of the U.S. Naval War College, in Newport; Lt. Junior Grade Kathryn Wesdyk, a submarine officer who just earned a master’s in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School; and Israeli Lt. Cmdr. (Reserves) Shenhav Ruttner, who commanded a naval base in Haifa at age 24. Meron Reuben, consul general of Israel to New England, will introduce the program.

To preregister for the free webinar, on June 3 at noon, go to

Israel, Navy, Naval War College, Israeli Consulate for New England