Human Rights

Arab-Israeli IDF Officer: Where Else in the Middle East Could You Find a Soldier Like Me?

The highest-ranking Muslim officer in the IDF wrote in an op-ed Thursday in the British paper Jewish News that his life story is a direct counter to claims of Israeli racism during “Israeli Apartheid Week,” which is occurring across the UK.

Maj. Alaa Waheeb dismissed the common charge that Israel is a racist state. “Forget for a second (BDS supporters would like you to forget permanently!) that 20 percent of Israelis are non-Jewish, have full rights, and are represented throughout society,” he wrote. “It’s one thing, after all, to have Arab politicians, Christian voters, and Muslim doctors – although we do have them, and quite a few at that. But a non-Jewish army Major? Someone who has not only fought alongside Jewish soldiers, but now trains them too? Would a truly racist state allow me to play such an integral role in our nation’s defences?”

Waheeb also defended the actions of the IDF, writing that his job is to save lives, not end them. Waheeb explained that one of his guiding principles is found in a phrase in the Quran: “If anyone killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind.” When Hamas fires rockets at Israel or when Fatah incites stabbing attacks, he and the IDF “are here to protect the lives of all Israeli citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.”

He also rejected the idea that a boycott of Israel was an effective way to bring about peace, as peace requires building bridges, but the BDS movement “wants to build walls.”

Waheeb concluded by emphasizing, from his own experience, how he contributes to building bridges:

During my time in the UK, I spoke alongside a fellow soldier, a medic who has treated both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists without distinction. We were the Muslim who protects Jewish lives, and the Jew who saves Muslim lives. There’s only one country in the Middle East that could produce a couple like that – and it sure as hell isn’t an apartheid state.

[Photo: Screenshot ]