Israeli Druze officer appointed military secretary to President Rivlin

Col. Ala Abu Rukon to be promoted to brigadier-general.

President Reuven Rivlin meets IDF soldiers at Shivta base, July 11, 2018 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin meets IDF soldiers at Shivta base, July 11, 2018
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Col. Ala Abu Rukon has been appointed military secretary to the president of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin, the IDF announced Thursday.
Abu Rukon, who is currently serving as the IDF military attaché to China, will replace Brig.-Gen Boaz Hershkovitz – who has served in the role for the past three years – and be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.
He was appointed following a decision by Rivlin together with Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi.
Congratulating Abu Rukon on his appointment, Rivlin said “he is an impressive and professional addition to the team of advisers at Beit HaNasi. I am confident that his experience and skills will further deepen the strong ties with the IDF and the whole security establishment.”
While Druze in the Golan don’t need to serve, those in the Galilee like Abu Rukon do serve. Over 85% of Druze voluntarily serve in the IDF with a large majority in combat positions or in special units and border police, with many reaching senior positions in the military and police.
The 47 year-old Druze resident of Usfiya holds a PhD in Middle East Studies from Bar-Ilan University and is a married father of four children.
Abu Rokun 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.
In addition, Abu Rukon has commanded the Havat Hashomer base which helps soldiers who are part of populations at risk.
In January, Rivlin visited the base and thanked the commanders for their hard work in dealing with “some of the most complex educational and command challenges.”
“Your determination not to give up on any soldier – ‘no soldier left behind’ – the persistence, the mental resilience required from you when you are sowing and reaping seeds of hope, are an example to us all,” he continued.
During his visit, Rivlin also asked soldiers who had criminal records to talk to their commanders and to begin the process of clearing their records and that he as President “will look at each application seriously.”
Abu Rukon is not the first member of a minority community to be appointed as military secretary to the President of Israel. Hassan Hassan, a retired brigadier general made history by being the first member of the Druze community to be appointed a military aide to the president of the State.  He was appointed by President Shimon Peres, and stayed on for two years with Rivlin.
Hassan  is  involved  in the struggle for the amendment  to the Nation-State Law.   Hassan’s father-in-law, Kamal Mansour, was for 40 years adviser on minorities to seven presidents of Israel, beginning with Zalman Shazar and concluding with Peres.
Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this story.