Israel’s First Druze has graduated as an Air Force combat navigator in the IDF, as the annual race was held Friday to commemorate the 421 Druze fighters who fell in Israel’s battles and terror attacks. This year’s race was dedicated to the memory of Border Guard Police officers Kamil Shna’an and Ha’il Satawi, who fell in the line of duty fighting terrorists on the Temple Mount.
Major A. – now a combat navigator — began his career as an industrial engineering soldier-student at the Technion Institute in Haifa when he was told he couldn’t have his first choice as a recruit in the elite Shayetet-13 unit, Ynet reported.
While studying, he was summoned by the IAF flight academy – and was faced with a choice: continue with engineering, or begin the process for admission to the air force flight academy.
Major A. chose the latter, but when he realized he wasn’t among those chosen as pilots, he again began to question his choices.
But ultimately, he said, he “felt like this was something very important… It’s an extraordinary experience, and the uniforms I wear are a source of great pride to me and for the Druze sector.”
Married and a father of three, A. Is also the eldest of four siblings who learned as young children about the importance of serving one’s country. His father was a senior Border Guard Police officer; his brother served in the Military Intelligence Directorate.
“Don’t be afraid of failure – it would only make you stronger,” is the message he said the younger generation needs to hear. “As Druze, we need to believe in ourselves more.”
Major A. said Friday’s race, held each year, “reflects the bond between the Druze community and the State of Israel.” Four Druze IAF officers participated in the race, including the commander of the Patriot missile defense system, and a lieutenant colonel and head of the planning branch of the department of engineering infrastructure – the highest ranking Druze in the IAF.