Video posting in Arabic shows an IDF officer demonstrating how the army prepares the special daily meal for Muslim soldiers to break the fast during Ramadan.
By Yakir Benzion
Israel’s multicultural society of Jews, Christians, Muslims and other minorities is reflected in the makeup of its armed forces, and the IDF isn’t shy about the fact that many of the solders who proudly serve are Arab citizens.
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, observant Muslim soldiers follow the religious edict to fast each day, and the IDF wanted to show how it helps them with the daily Iftar – the meal eaten at the end of the day to breaks the fast.
A video about how the IDF prepares the meals is now making the rounds on social media – in Arabic – with an Arab army officer describing the special preparations.
While the video is on the IDF’s Arabic language Facebook page, it was also sent on out Twitter by Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu’s spokesperson to the Arab media.
“Hundreds of Muslim soldiers serve in the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces. What does the Iftar meal in a military unit look like where the majority of its soldiers are Muslim, and what special foods does the military chef (Jewish, by the way) bring to Muslim soldiers?” Gendelman said.
The video is hosted and narrated by Captain Ella Waweya, herself a Muslim, who is a member of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. She takes viewers on a special tour to the military kitchen in the Bedouin reconnaissance unit, where she welcomes Muslim viewers watching from around the Arabic-speaking world and describes the Iftar preparations.
The Jewish chef greets viewers with the traditional “Ramadan Kareem” blessing for the holiday and explains how the kitchen staff does its best to create “the most authentic and delicious” Iftar meal each day so the soldiers can “feel like they’re at home.”
Captain Waweya pitches in, helping to stir the rice and make couscous, and the finished meal looks fit for kings.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim calendar during which the faithful fast from dawn to sunset in order to come closer to God and learn patience, modesty and spirituality. Giving charity, one of the five pillars of Islam, is obligatory, and religious Muslims believe that good deeds performed during Ramadan are even more meaningful than during the rest of the year.