“The IDF is a strong, challenging, non-discriminatory army, and is a great supporter of human rights.”
This is a statement by Lieutenant Hesham Aborea, who got enlisted in the IDF as a way to help his own Arab community.
Lieutenant Hesham Aborea is a Muslim Arab officer in the IDF. His journey began in 2006 when he joined the army and it has not stopped since.
He is currently serving in the IDF as the Community Relations Officer to the Arab Sector, speaking to the Arab community in times of emergency.
His path to this very important and challenging role was not handed to him on a silver platter, but he appreciates his significant work. “Every morning I think of ways to help the community”.
“It was very important for me to reach my community through education”.
At a young age, Hesham Aborea began thinking about what he wanted to do in life, and how to get out of his village in Northern Israel. He graduated from Ben Gurion University with an Bachelor’s degree in Hebrew and began working, but observing the lifestyle of young men in his community made him want to join the army to better the Arab world.
“It’s very hard to grow up for a young man where I am from. You finish high school, some continue studying, and others work manual labor jobs. For example, if I had a degree in social work, at an interview they’ll ask me if I served in the army. If not, my chances would plummet, and then I would have to go back to my village and do manual labor. It’s a cycle that a lot of young Arab men are stuck in so they turn to alcohol, drugs and violence. I saw this cycle and I decided to join the army.”
Lieutenant Aborea enlisted in his late 20s to the IDF’s Southern Command as a Youth Counselor for Bedouin high school students. He would speak to these students about various subjects like nonviolence, abstaining from drugs, being better acquainted with the land and country, and also about the Army.
“It was very important for me to reach my community through education. We had teachers, school principles, and different chairmen come in and talk to the kids. My point wasn’t to push them to serve in the army, it was more to educate and inspire the students to serve their community.”
Aborea says that 10 to 35 high school graduates would join the army.
Source: The Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
The state of Israel is often accused of being a racist state.
Lieutenant Hesham Aborea is another proof that the accusers of Israel is wrong. There are two million Israeli Arabs, most of the Muslims living inside the state of Israel with full Israeli citizenship.
Now the first Muslim soldier have reached the level of officer, in a free and democratic nations called Israel.