Photo Credit: Mazi Pilip’s Facebook
Congressional candidate Mazi Pilip.

In the upcoming February 13th special election, Nassau County legislator and former Israeli paratrooper Mazi Pilip is set to engage in a political showdown against the Democratic contender, former congressman Tom Suozzi. The stakes are high as they vie for the congressional seat left vacant by the ousting of George Santo in New York State’s affluent 3rd congressional district. This district encompasses the prestigious North Shore of Long Island and extends across the opulent northern reaches of Nassau County into the northeastern expanse of Queens. Widely recognized as the wealthiest congressional district in the Empire State, NY-03 held the notable distinction of being the fourth-wealthiest nationally in the year 2022. In 2020, NY-03 voted for Joe Biden.

In November 2021, Pilip was elected to New York’s Nassau County Legislature as a Republican representing Nassau County’s Long Island’s 10th district. She beat four-term incumbent Ellen Birnbaum by seven percentage points.


Mazi Melesa Pilip, 45, was born in a small village in Ethiopia and made Aliyah with her family in 1991 when she was 12 years old, as part of Operation Solomon. She has three sisters who live in Israel. At age 18 she served in the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade. After her service, Pilip studied at the University of Haifa, where she was Chairwoman of the Ethiopian Student Union, and earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. In Haifa, she met her husband, Adalbert Pilip, an American-Ukrainian-Jewish medical student who was studying medicine at the Technion. She later earned a Master’s degree in diplomacy and security from Tel Aviv University.

After Mazi Pilip and her husband married they moved to the US and eventually settled in Great Neck, NY, where Adalbert works as a cardiologist. The couple has seven children.

Mazi Pilip lighting a Miyad Hanukkah menorah, November 29, 2021. / MiYaD on Facebook

The Pilips are Orthodox, and Mazi is vice president of her synagogue, Kol Yisrael Achim, on Middle Neck Rd in Great Neck, where we expect they’ll be doing a special kiddush tomorrow. Pilip is active in efforts to revitalize Great Neck and in speaking appearances about Israel before Jewish groups.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) who became famous a few weeks ago for exposing the moral decrepitude of the presidents of three Ivy League universities, tweeted Thursday night: “Mazi Melesa Pilip stands out as a truly exceptional candidate and will make the hardworking families of New York’s 3rd district proud. Mazi is a shining example of the American Dream, and her extraordinary story reflects just that. As a paratrooper, mom, and local elected official, Mazi knows how to lead. I am proud to endorse her and Team Elise is all in to help her win.”

Lee Zeldin, who lost his bid to become governor of New York, tweeted ahead of Pilip’s reelection for the county legislator: “Growing up an Ethiopian refugee in Israel, Mazi Pilip became an IDF paratrooper and is now a Nassau County Legislator. She is a tenacious fighter and selfless patriot. I strongly support re-electing Mazi in next Tuesday’s election!”

Journalist Trish Regan pointed out what all of us think right now: Mazi Pilip is a Republican politician who checks all the boxes: she is Black, Jewish, and a paratrooper in the IDF.

Those are dreamy qualifications that even George Santos, known for making up one dreamy qualification after another, could not have dreamed up.

Give ’em hell, Mazi!


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