Ron Jacobsohn Meets IDF Commander Mona Lisa Ron Jacobsohn Meets IDF Commander Mona Lisa
This is the true heartwarming story about a girl whose parents foresaw her becoming beautiful and called her Mona Lisa. But she grew up... Ron Jacobsohn Meets IDF Commander Mona Lisa

This is the true heartwarming story about a girl whose parents foresaw her becoming beautiful and called her Mona Lisa. But she grew up to be not only beautiful but also brave and courageous too. This is the story of Mona Lisa Abado, the first Arab-Israeli to enlist to the Israeli army who is now on her way to becoming a combat officer.

Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
This is the true heartwarming story about a girl whose parents foresaw her becoming beautiful and called her Mona Lisa. But she grew up to be not only beautiful but also brave and courageous too. This is the story of Mona Lisa Abado, the first Arab-Israeli to enlist to the Israeli army who is now on her way to becoming a combat officer.

It is not every day that you meet such an impressive young woman. A woman who had the courage, to go where no Arab Israeli woman has ever gone before. She did the unthinkable for most of her community and decided to enlist to service with the Israeli Defense Forces.

IDF Commander Mona Lisa Abado:
My name is Mona Lisa. I am from Haifa in Kiryat Haim neighborhood. I am 20-years old and I am a commander in the IDF. It was important to me to give back to my country, Israel.

Only when you realize how rare in Israel is what Abado did you can grasp the big breakthrough she has made.

Capt. Ethan Bachman, Head of the N. America Media Desk, IDF Spokesperson:
Its interesting, both in Mona Lisa’s case and other cases around the IDF, when you meet the soldiers, particularly the soldiers who come from backgrounds that don’t generally get drafted into the IDF, you see a strong sense of motivation.
And you got this with people who move to Israel to join and also from people like Mona Lisa where they realize that the cause they are fighting for is a higher cause and the soldiers that are around them all get influenced as well. It gives a boost to motivation because it’s kind of a reminder of ideology, and how ideology can push you to do the right things.

Abado comes from an Arab-Christian Israeli family. She grew up in a suburb of Haifa. After graduating from elementary school she decided she wants to go to a Jewish school and with her mothers support both her and her sister got into a Jewish school. Upon graduating it was the most natural thing for her, to enlist to the army like all her Jewish high school friends.

IDF Commander Mona Lisa Abado:
When I enlisted to the army I hoped that something was going to change, that more people from my community will enlist. There are a lot of Arab Christian men that really want to enlist. There is of course the Bedouin battalion who are also Arabs and they enlist. I support that all the Arab Israelis should contribute and enlist to the army and will give back to their country because we live here. I can only say it is an amazing thing.

Capt. Ethan Bachman, Head of the N. America Media Desk, IDF Spokesperson:
We can’t get into specifics; I can say there are a couple of hundred Muslin and Bedouin men that are serving in the IDF and a couple of thousand Druses.
Right now there is there is an existing mechanism to make sure they can serve. If you look at the Druze soldiers there are two major combat battalions that they serve in the Southern Command. What they call Herev Battalion. And in the scouting until in the southern border. So what you essentially have is a military combat unit that will stop three times a day for organized prayers. Its really taking steps to make sure that we can make maximize integration while still letting each persons individual beliefs, individual principals be manifested on a day to day basis.

There is no doubt that Mona Lisa Abado wants her message to be heard loud and clear and isn’t afraid to speak her mind out to whoever will listen to her.

IDF Commander Mona Lisa Abado:
I really don’t think Israel is an occupying force. This is our home, according to the history books, we are supposed to be here, we won, we fought for this place and this country is ours there is nothing to do no matter what people will insist on claiming. I really have never felt any prejudice against me in Israel. I live amongst Jews, I study amongst Jews, I serve amongst Jews, My girlfriends are Jewish, I go out with them, I spend time at their houses and I really don’t feel any different at all. My message is that I want everyone to come and contribute to the army, and will feel part of this country. Just like they like to receive from the country benefits they should feel also obligated to give back too because if we won’t serve our country we eventually won’t have a country and we have no other home and if there will ever be a different regime here we won’t have an existence here. This is what I know. This is what I believe.

Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
And as the question of the equality of the burden in Israeli society takes center stage, a story like Mona Lisa’s proves that it is possible to do the right thing even when not forced to do so by law.
For JN1, I am Ron Jacobsohn in Jerusalem.

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