IDF Israel

An arab muslim IDF major with a comment that everyone on earth needs to read

“I am the operations officer at the IDF ground forces training base at Tze’elim,” Ala Wahib says at the start of our conversation, his eyes twinkling with excitement. “I am like the mother and father of that place,” he adds. “The only thing is that I don’t really have anyone to share it with, so I make sure to pat myself on the back every now and again, and say ‘dude, you’re awesome. Look how far you’ve come.’”

“Because it is important to me to show the Arab public what they are missing. There are quite a lot of people [in the Arab community] who want to enlist, but they are afraid and they don’t know if they will be accepted by their environment. It is important to me to show them the road I’ve traveled, and to make them understand that it is possible.”

When Wahib says “we” he means the Jewish people. “I believe in the Muslim faith, and I will never abandon it, but I think that Zionism is more than a religion. It is something that fully represents my sense of belonging to the State of Israel and to Israeli society, and the immense commitment I have to protecting and guarding the country of which I am part.”

I discovered that the Jews weren’t as bad as I was told growing up. I discovered that they have a good side that I am drawn to. I identified with their principles and the way they protect one another. I felt that I wanted to become a part of this country… You could say that I really emerged from the bubble I had been living in. My eyes were opened wide and when that happens, it is very difficult to close them again.”

“The State of Israel has a lot of different colors. There is a wide variety. Two peoples live here, and the sooner we recognize it, the faster we can minimize the damage. I think that the fact that I am an officer in the IDF communicates a positive message to the Arabs living here. I want to believe that the path that I chose will prove to them that there is another way. My nephew and my cousin enlisted in the Border Police this year, for example. I support them and I help them, with my experience.”
“I feel that I am on a mission. I hope that in the future there will be a lot more Muslim Arab officers in the IDF, and that by virtue of us being human beings we will find a way to communicate and find solutions for a shared life.” (ISRAEL FORVER INTERVIEW)