Druze officer appointed Israeli president’s military secretary

Colonel Ala Abu Rukan will be the second IDF military officer from the Druze minority to serve in the Israeli president’s Residence.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

President Reuven Rivlin’s new military secretary will be a Druze officer, Col. Ala Abu Rukan, the IDF announced Thursday. Rokan will be immediately promoted in rank to brigadier general to serve in the role.

Abu Rukon is replacing Brig. Gen. Boaz Hershkowitz, who has worked at the President’s Residence for almost three years.

The position of military secretary is that of a liaison between the president and the security establishment. This includes the IDF, intelligence services, police and prison services. He is responsible for keeping the president updated on the security situation, and makes arrangements when the president wants to visit security-related facilities.

Col. Abu Rukon is not the first Druze to serve as the president’s right-hand military man. Brig. Gen. Hasson Hasson spent eight years advising mainly Shimon Peres and then Peres’s successor, Rivlin, on security matters.

Col. Abu Rukon, a 47-year-old father of four from the Druze town of Usfiya, is currently the IDF’s military attache to China. He is a career soldier, having served over half his life in various command posts, such as in the Paratroopers Brigade and for many years in the intelligence branch.

He also served as the commander of the Havat Hashomer base, which belongs to the Education and Youth Corps and helps rehabilitate young men at risk and integrate them into the army. These include teens who have very low motivation to serve as well as those who had been involved in low-level crime before their induction.

During his military service, Col. Abu Rukon finished a doctorate in Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

The president decided upon Col. Abu Rukon together with Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi.

“He is an impressive and professional addition to the team of advisers at Beit HaNasi,” Rivlin said. “I am confident that his experience and skills will further deepen the strong ties with the IDF and the whole security establishment.”