faces_of_israel
monaliza abdo

IDF Commander Monaliza Abdo, a Christian Israeli-Arab, discussed the motivation behind her decision to serve in the army and the sense of fulfillment that she achieved.

Monaliza Abdo is Christian Israeli-Arab from Haifa and a “brave defender of Jews and minorities alike,” the IDF stated.

She was not required to enlist in the Israeli army, but her desire to contribute to her beloved State of Israel inspired her to volunteer.

Abdo is one of several female soldiers featured by the IDF for having “shattered barriers” in 2013.

“As a fighter on Israel’s southern border, she rose through the ranks to become a commander, teaching soldiers how to combat terrorism and other threats,” the IDF said. “Just over a month ago, she honorably completed three years of service – one more than the required number for Israeli women in general.”

Abdo was not obligated to serve. It was her choice.

“I joined the IDF because I am an inseparable part of Israel. I came to serve my country and my home,” she said in an interview, which was featured on the official IDF blog.

Her job in the army is to help prevent terror attacks, smuggling operations and illegal entry into the country.

“If I prevent drugs from entering the country, I protect not only the Jewish people, but the Arabs as well,” she explained. “I defend every small child in the State of Israel from exposure to drugs. If I could turn back the clock three years, I would choose [to serve in] the same unit, but I would try to accomplish even more.”

 

Abdo studied with Jews all her life, having attended a mainstream school. At 17, her friends received draft notices, but she did not.

She had heard about many Bedouin-Arab Israelis who had served voluntarily in the IDF, and she told her mother that she wanted to enlist.

At the draft center, an IDF commander – a Druze Arab – “helped me a lot during the process and really motivated me.”

Abdo’s mother is very proud and agrees that her daughter has followed the right path for her. She said that she was surprised but happy when told that her daughter wanted to join the IDF.

“I did not know how to express my joy because it was so mature of her,” she enthused. “It was a big surprise and created a lot of joy for the whole family.”

“I advise all young Arab boys and girls to enlist in our army for our land and our country,” she continued. “This is our country and our home. Here we live and here we will die. The roots of our fathers and children are here.

“To all the young people out there, I say: The army is a university…a place to learn and be a part of a new family.”

“I keep the country safe, not only for the Jews, but for the Arabs too,” Abdo declared. “I would sacrifice my life for the State of Israel and all of its citizens.”

Date: Feb. 5, 2014