The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) promoted a female Christian Arab to become a combat commander for the first time ever on Oct. 17.
Mona Abdo, 20, grew up in a Christian home in Haifa. She voluntarily enlisted in the IDF when she turned 18 with the encouragement of her family. Upon enlistment Mona was assigned to the Ordnance Corps. However, she quickly realized that she wanted more of an active role and was transferred to the combat unit Caracal—which has both male and female, and Arab and Jewish soldiers fighting alongside each other.
However, despite her family’s support, Mona has faced mixed reactions within her community. “There were people who were very proud of me, but there were those [Arabs] on the street who saw me with the IDF uniform and the fighter pin and told me I was a traitor,” Mona told Israel’s Channel 2 News.
With the IDF commanders training course behind her, Mona is looking forward to becoming a pioneering leader within the IDF.
“I’m very excited and I’m thinking about the fact that soon I’m going to get new troops who will be under my command. I hope to lead by personal example,” she said.