The official spokesman for the Israeli army in Arabic, born in 1982, is a well-known face in the Arab world through his active interaction on social media platforms.
The Israeli authorities praised his role, and the occupation army granted him many promotions until he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, and he received many awards and medals in appreciation of his efforts in the field of Israeli military media.
Birth and upbringing
Avichay Adraee was born in 1982 in Haifa, occupied Palestine. His family is of Syrian origin, who immigrated from Diriyah early to Palestine, where his grandfather on his father’s side was born in Palestine during the British Mandate, and his grandmother was an immigrant from Turkey, while his grandparents on his mother’s side were Jews who came from the Iraqi city of Basra in the 1950s. On the twentieth, they settled in Kiryat Ata, near Haifa.
Adraee grew up in the Hadar HaCarmel neighborhood in Haifa, in an Israeli family with three children. His childhood was simple and ordinary, as he himself describes, where most of his attention was focused on computer games, watching football matches, and street games.
One of the prominent features of his childhood was his close relationship with Arabic, which he learned from a young age through his family. He had been watching old Egyptian films on Israeli television with his grandparents since the late 1980s, and he would also follow the news bulletin on Egyptian television and imitate broadcasters.
His father played a major role in teaching him Arabic. He was keen on that, to the point that he insisted on changing his son’s academic path and determining his choices in high school so that Arabic would be among the subjects he studied. At that time, he was planning his professional future to join the Military Intelligence Corps, which he What requires learning Arabic is the principle of “know your enemy,” as he says.
Study and scientific training
Adraee received his education in the city of Haifa, where he graduated from the Hebrew Hariali School, where he studied Arabic since the seventh grade, in addition to other subjects. He passed his exams and showed excellence, so the Ministry of Education sent him to Egypt, with another group, with the aim of mastering Arabic.
In 2008, Adraee joined the University of Haifa, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Political Science in October 2010, then completed his master’s degree at the same university, and graduated from the Faculty of Administration in September 2011, specializing in “Middle Eastern Studies.”
Adraee is fluent in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and English, and he can speak Arabic in colloquial dialects.
Experience in military media
Adraee joined compulsory service in the Israeli army in August 2001, and served Unit 8200 in the Israeli Army Intelligence Corps with the rank of sergeant. Because of his proficiency in more than one language, he worked as a linguist in the Intelligence Department.
In 2006, Miri Regev, the Israeli army spokeswoman at the time, who later became the Minister of Culture, offered him the job of “Israeli army spokesman” in Arabic, and Adraee was happy with the offer. He believed that he had the opportunity of a lifetime because this job, as he says, “brings Between his love for the media, his love for Arabic, and his love for Israel.” He considered his mission “a noble message because it represents a bridge of peace linking the Israeli army and the Arab public.”
Adraee began his work as a spokesman for the Israeli army at a time when the region was going through a state of major changes and tensions. During that period, the Israeli occupation had just withdrawn from Gaza, and then the Israeli war on Lebanon broke out (July 2006), and it was necessary to provide data related to the Lebanese war. His first activities in the military media arena.
At the beginning of his work, he was broadcasting Israeli army messages through the Arab media, by conducting interviews with Arab television or radio channels or newspapers and participating in seminars, regarding hot events such as the wars in Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, or kidnapping incidents, as happened with the Israeli soldier. Gilad Shalit, and he was providing information related to developments related to events, wars, or the closure of borders and crossings, and the like.
A well-known face among the Arabs
Adraee was able to reach the Arab audience with his proficiency in Arabic, as well as his understanding of cultural heritage, general concepts, and familiar expressions in Arab countries.
On the other hand, the Israeli authorities attached great importance to the mission carried out by Adraee, so the military institution worked to enroll him in an officer preparation course, and he was qualified and trained extensively.
His academic background, familiarity with Middle East politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Arab world affairs, and his experience with international media, in addition to his high ability to cohesion and skill in avoiding provocation, supported him in maintaining his position for many years (exceeding 18 years at the beginning of 2024).
Adraee was able to climb the career ladder in Israeli military intelligence, as he was just a first sergeant when he assumed his position as spokesman for the Israeli army, but he showed excellence in his performance, so he was promoted to the rank of major, and in October 2018, the head of the Army Operations Authority granted him the rank of lieutenant colonel. For his efficiency and efforts in the media war.
Active interaction on social platforms
With the development of social networks, their control over the field of communication and social interactions in the world, and their enormous potential to influence people, Adraee transferred a large part of his activity to these platforms, and exploited them effectively, achieving through them a strong presence and great fame in Arab circles.
Adraee runs a group of active accounts in Arabic on various means of communication, and has millions of followers in the Arab world. At the beginning of 2024, the number of his followers on “Facebook” reached 2.5 million followers, and on “Twitter” he had more than 662 thousand followers, and his account received Tik Tok has approximately 575,000 followers, there are 116,000 followers on his YouTube channel, and more than 100,000 followers on Instagram.
According to a study published by the Arab American University magazine in 2017, the majority of Adraee’s followers on Facebook are from the young generation between the ages of 18 and 24 years.
Adraee believes that the idea of using social media “is not only to publish press releases, but also to generate discourse among specific target audiences with the aim of influence, not just public relations.”
He is proud that the means of communication have enabled him to make progress in this field, and this is exemplified by the use by many Arab media outlets of the term “Israeli Defense Army.” He says, “This term was unacceptable. They called it the Israeli army or the enemy army,” and in his opinion, “Change is slow and small, but very important.”
A new battlefield
Social media has become “the new battlefield,” according to Adraee, who stressed that “we have to be there, and be creative.” Adraee appears on social media platforms permanently in military uniform, and he believes that this “increases the trust of the Arab street.”
On his accounts, he raises various topics, mostly military and security, including news of military operations and training. He also displays pictures and videos of recruits whom he identifies as Muslims recruited into the Israeli army, and publishes pictures of “relief and aid work” provided by the Israeli army.
It also broadcasts security warnings to the residents of the Gaza Strip, but the most visible aspect of all of these is highlighting the “military achievements” of the Israeli army and its advanced weapon systems, and constantly stressing that Israel is “a leading regional power, its army is invincible” and that it is “the army defending Israel.”
On the other hand, verbal debates often take place on his electronic pages with “terrorists” or “saboteurs,” as he calls them, as well as with prominent figures from the media, artists, and the like.
He constantly issues warnings to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the resistance factions, and regularly attacks prominent figures within them. His statements and posts, which he presents via video clips or cartoons, are often filled with scathing sarcasm and provocation at other times.
Because of his defense of Israeli military operations, Adraee received death threats in early 2013, which required the establishment of heavy security guards at his home in southern Israel.
In April of the same year, his Facebook page was hacked, and the hackers placed on his cover photo a picture of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
In July 2014, it was hacked again, and the page disappeared completely before reappearing. Massive campaigns also grow and are renewed from time to time by activists calling for a boycott of Adraee’s electronic accounts and unfollowing him as he is an Israeli propaganda machine.
Adraee frequently addresses topics outside the scope of direct military media, including social, religious, political, humanitarian, and cultural issues, or others related to media, art, and sports. It is necessary for him to use soft messages, which come to “confirm commonalities” such as sports, arts, and social niceties such as congratulations on holidays and occasions, and they abound in His posts include Quranic quotations, classical Arabic poetry texts, and colloquial proverbs.
Awards and honors
Adraee's efforts were greatly appreciated in Israel, and he became referred to as a figure dedicated to “building bridges” with neighboring countries. He received many awards and medals in recognition of his efforts in the field of military media, which are:
- Distinguished Achievement Award: Received from former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in June 2018.
- Protective Edge Medal: Awarded by the army in July 2015 in recognition of his role in the war on the Gaza Strip in 2014.
- Distinguished Achievement Award: Given to him by then Army Spokesman Brigadier General Avi Benyahu in April 2008.
- Outstanding Achievement Award: Received by former RES Operations Director Tal Russo in September 2008.