Druze IDF officer appointed presidential military aide

The IDF announced the appointment of Colonel Ala Abu Rukon as the new military secretary of Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin. Colonel Abu Rukon, who is currently serving as the IDF military attaché to China, is set to be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General – before replacing Brigadier General Boaz Hershkovitz who has served in the role for the past three years.

The decision to appoint Abu Rukon, a 47-year-old resident of the Druze town of Usfiya was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and President Reuven Rivlin himself – who congratulated his appointment by praising his “impressive and professional” military record. Colonel Abu Rukon has served in the IDF for the past 25 years beginning as a soldier and commander in the Paratroopers Brigade, and continuing in a series of command posts in the Intelligence Branch for many years. He has a PhD in Middle East Studies from Bar-Ilan University, and is a member of the Druze minority in Israel.

A member of the President’s advisor’s team told TV7 that Abu Rukon’s appointment shows the confidence and respect the state of Israel has for its Druze minority.” He explained that “this appointment proves once again that the Druze – who are the descendants of the father-in-law of biblical Moses, Jethro – continue to serve as advisers to the leaders of Israel, to this day;” referring to the counsel Jethro provided Moses in the book of Exodus, chapter 18, and verses 15 to 23.

It is important to note that Colonel Ala Abu Rukon is not the first Military Presidential Secretary from the Druze minority, which has the highest IDF enlistment rate among all of Israel’s societies, standing at 85 percent, including many of them in senior positions. The first Druze Presidential Military Secretary was Retired Brigadier General Hassoun Hassoun, who served as an adviser to President Shimon Peres and to President Reuven Rivlin for his first two years in office. General Hassoun’s father-is-law, Kamal Mansour, also served as an adviser to seven of Israel’s President, beginning with President Zalman Shazar in 1963, and concluded his service with President Shimon Peres in 2014.