Cpl. Elinor Joseph, a young Christian Arab woman from northern Israel, has won herself a place in a respected infantry unit, making her Israel’s first ever female Arab combat soldier.
Joseph will serve as a combat medic in the Karakal Battalion, after more than a year of battling misconceptions that she was too weak for such a position.
Joseph originally did not plan to enlist in the IDF. Arab citizens of Israel are not required to enlist due to the societal difficulties that serving in the Jewish state’s army can cause. But some choose to enlist anyway. Joseph’s father was one of them, and she remembered the great sense of pride and accomplishment that his years as an Israeli paratrooper had given him and the whole family.
So, despite the fierce objections of her friends and many others in her local community, Joseph decided to enlist. “I believe in what I am doing,” she told the IDF Spokesman’s Unit. “My parents also are very proud of me, maybe a little bit too much.”
Although she had always intended to be a combat soldier, the recruitment officer she first met with told Joseph she was too small and frail to be in such a unit. Upset, but not discouraged, Joseph aced a medic’s course and was then deployed to one of the many checkpoints between Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) and Israel proper.
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