Twenty-Year-Old Becomes First Christian Arab Commander in the IDF
Mono Abdo sworn in as Commander in Caracal
History took place on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, when Mona Abdo, a Christian Arab who grew up in Haifa, Israel, became the first female Arab commander of a combat unit in the Israeli Defense Forces.
The 20-yea-old Abdo, who lives in Kiryat Haim, participated in the graduation ceremony for those who completed the IDF commanders training course, becoming a commander in Caracal.
Abdo’s road to this historic moment started in 2010 when, as a volunteer in the Israeli army, she served in the Ordnance Corps for four months before she knew that she wanted to do more, and, as a result, she was transferred to the female combat unit Caracal – where Arab and Jewish soldiers fight for the same side.
Demonstrating hard work and dedication Abdo, then 18-years-old, was hand-picked for the commander's course.
But, despite her successes, Abdo faced her share of challenges along the way.
"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," she told News 2 online. “There were soldiers who were originally in shock, those I met in the course and in the battalion, but they were very impressed with what I did. I was also approached by Arab women who told me they wanted to enlist, but that they were worried about what other Arabs in the village might think.
But, demonstrating her obvious courage and self-assurance, the 20-year-old is not deterred by her detractors.
"I'm very at peace with my decision and my parents are very supportive,” said the remarkable new IDF commander.