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A Mission of Love of Country… Meet Female Muslim Arab IDF Major Ella Waweya
“This is my place, to change the image in the Arab society and to show the togetherness of the State of Israel,” IDF Major Ella Waweya says.
Anyone visiting Israel would find out, after only a few days, that the Arabs and Muslims in Israel are safer, freer, and more legally protected than in almost 56 Muslim-majority states in the world today.
I recently came across a report sent to me by an Israeli Arab about serious transformations in the mindset of some young Arab Israelis vis a vis the State of Israel, especially since the Abrahamic peace accords that president Trump brought about between Israel and several Arab states.
The article is addressing the life story of a young 33 years old female Muslim by the name of Ella Waweya, who is currently known in Israel as “Captain Ella” (even after her promotion to major). She has become the IDF’s (Israel Defence Force) deputy spokesperson.
I am herein telling her remarkable story – because good news about Israel is prohibited since it would be contrary to the mendacities printed by the Fake Media – gleaned not only from the article but also from other sources (in fact, she can be checked in Google) that my friend in Israel sent me regarding Captain Ella.
She is an army officer who has received both the President’s Award of Excellence and that of the minister of defense, and is the first Muslim Arab woman to publicly become a major in the IDF.
Almost all of the mainstream media and social platforms in the West parrot without actually investigating articles put up by the so-called ‘Palestinians’ and Jew-hating others, to demonize and delegitimize Israel.
Among such evil entities are the NY Times, Ilhan Omar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera, and left-wing activists in all the colleges and universities in the USA, invariably subsidized by Qatar and other Islamic entities.
Their primary and totally false mantra is: Israel is an Apartheid State.
Of course, not a single member of Congress or the foremost commenters in the media ever proved their case or asked any ‘Palestinian’ to name a single king of the mythical ‘Palestinian people’ in the last 6000 years of recorded history.
Invariably, the accusers are Muslims whose Quran prohibits Sharia-compliant Muslims from ever partnering with or being loyal citizens among none Muslims/Kuffar; the very definition of Racism and Apartheid.
Captain Ella’s unconventional life journey begins in the central Israeli city of Qalansawe, where virtually all the residents are Muslim Arabs. Although she was born into a conservative, religious family, she had nagging thoughts about her identity as to whether she is an Arab Israeli or a Palestinian. She recalls her family watching the one-sided reports of the Qatari-based Al Jazeera on the Second Intifada (the year 2000) when she was 12 years old. She knew one thing: She aspired to be a journalist who wanted to show the side that Al Jazeera was not presenting — that of the State of Israel.
In the cloistered Muslim society, she could not find anyone who could answer her many questions without prejudice.
She told her interviewer, “Until I turned 16, I was in sort of dilemma as to what was my identity”.
A clarity of sorts came at age 16 when Waweya received her own Israeli ID card, and with it felt that she got at least one answer to her question: You are Israeli. She decided to realize her first dream of studying communications and enrolled in an Israeli college. Pursuing her search of belonging, Waweya understood that she could perform a year of national service concomitant to her studies, and volunteered in the emergency room of an Israeli hospital at night.
During a break, she chatted with a hospital security guard from the Bedouin minority. Like all Arab Israelis, who make up 21% of the population, the Bedouins are not subject to conscription, although some do serve in the IDF. The guard, who had been in the army, asked her why she chose to perform national service and not military service, leading Waweya to realize that although she was an Arab Muslim, she could, in fact, enlist in the IDF.
Around the same time, as a communications major who had a radio show, Waweya was invited to attend a media conference in the southern city of Eilat, an event that would prove a watershed in her life’s journey.
One of the panels, which included the IDF chief spokesperson and a veteran Israeli military reporter, dealt with Haredi (a religious Jewish sect whose members refuse to serve in the armed forces) conscription.
After a member of the audience opined that the ultra-Orthodox should not serve in the military, Waweya made her move. She raised her hand and, when called upon, said that the speaker should be ashamed of himself, and that, as a Muslim, she herself wished she could join the IDF.
“All of a sudden — I did not understand why — everybody got up on their feet and applauded me,” she recounts. “I was very young and innocent.”
At the end of the session, then-IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav “Poli” Mordechai and the late veteran military correspondent Roni Daniel from Israel’s Channel 12 approached her, an event still vivid in her memory a decade later.
Daniel told her, “Bravo!” and Mordechai said, “I salute you,” while asking the head of his office who accompanied him — and who by chance was also named Ella — to take down her details.
Two days later, Waweya was summoned for an interview at the IDF Spokesperson’s office in Tel Aviv, and shortly thereafter, she was accepted to work in the military’s coveted press office. At age 24, the young woman who did not know that the IDF had non-combat positions — or that Muslims could even enlist in the Israeli army — found herself in uniform.
At first, Waweya concealed her service from her family, who assumed she was working while studying since she had moved out at age 19, although they became concerned when they saw her recruitment papers sent in the mail. She recalls her enlistment day, and that was the first day she was in uniform.
A year and a half later, having enrolled in officer’s training and being selected as an outstanding soldier who would be honored by the president, Waweya called her brother because she wanted him, at least, to attend the ceremony.
She recalls. “He was in shock, after first laughing off the idea that I enlisted in the IDF.”
She sent him her picture in uniform via WhatsApp. “I heard his voice that he was shaking,” she recounts. She revealed to him that she had been in the IDF for a year and a half. “I’ll be with you but don’t tell anyone,” he told her.
At the Jerusalem award ceremony, her identity was supposed to be withheld. Yet after the Yediot Aharonot daily new paper mentioned a pioneering young Arab woman named Ella from Qalansawe as part of a story about the event the cat was out of the bag.
“How many Ellas are there in Qalansawe?” she asks rhetorically.
Her family was shocked and took the news very harshly, creating a rupture that took a long time to heal.
Waweya tried to explain to her family that she was realizing a childhood dream by serving her country and feel a sense of belonging and to realize her goal of working within communications. Slowly, her family began to come around, and began to view the IDF through a different lens.
When she received her officer’s rank, her mother was at the ceremony in what Waweya calls one of the most moving moments of her life.
“We hugged each other for 15 minutes on the stage and just cried,” she recounts. “We had never bonded as much before, ever.”
Nearly a decade after first donning a uniform, Waweya has risen in ranks and in the unit, become a fixture in the Arabic-language press, and is most prominently known for her “Captain Ella Videos,” a series of informational films about Israel and the IDF for the Arab society.
Nowadays, her mother beams with pride when talking about her daughter, the major in the IDF.
Waweya, who has signed on for an additional year in the army, expects to stay on for many more years before her next chapter in life. She has gained the respect of a global Arabic press corps that at first didn’t know what to make of her.
Several dozen people from her city were inspired to either enlist or perform national service.
There are about 2 million Arab citizens in Israel.
“I feel that there is a change, but there is so much more work to do,” she says.
Nearly 400 Muslim Arabs, including Bedouins, enlisted in the IDF over the last year, according to official army figures.
The maverick officer says that there is indeed a sense of something new in the air, pointing to the landmark 2020 Abraham Accords, which saw four Arab countries normalize relations with Israel.
Immersed in the melting pot that is the IDF, and the direct commander of four soldiers who, she says, look up to her as a “mom, sister, friend and officer,” Waweya says that today she feels Israeli in every way.
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