IDF veteran turned NY GOP pick to replace George Santos vows to take on ‘Squad,’ slams Suozzi as fake moderate

Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Israeli Defense Forces veteran and Republican candidate vying to keep the embattled Rep. George Santos’ vacated district red, spoke at length with Fox News Digital about her message to New York voters, pitching herself as the best candidate to combat the far-left “Squad” of the Democratic Party in Congress. 

Pilip, an Ethiopian Jew, immigrant to Israel and the United States, married mother of seven children and a recent political newcomer, detailed her background and platform while campaigning for New York’s 3rd Congressional District ahead of a Feb. 13 special election against former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. 

Winning her first political campaign in 2021, flipping a county legislative seat from blue to red while pregnant with identical twins, Pilip is up against Suozzi, whose lengthy Long Island political career affords him name recognition and fundraising advantages after previously representing the same district six years. 

“You know what, Suozzi? Suozzi, a great politician. He’s absolutely a talker,” Pilip told Fox News Digital. “He is playing a game of ‘I am a moderate.’ He’s not.”


Mazi Melesa Pilip holds a weapon during her service in the Israeli Defense Forces. (Fox News)

Rejecting Suozzi’s claim to be a moderate Democrat who vows to take on the far left of his party, Pilip argued Suozzi’s voting record proves he almost always aligns with President Biden and the “Squad.”

By contrast, Pilip said she is best suited to take on antisemitic rhetoric from the likes of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Cori Bush, D-Mo.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, because she and her Ukrainian-born husband know firsthand what it was like living in Israel during the second intifada of the early 2000s. 

“I know the fear. My family is living this life,” she said, noting how her relatives were in bomb shelters in Israel for several days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. “I know how bad and what the Israeli civilians right now are going through. And the only one who can speak really against the Squad, who are causing so much problems for us as a nation here, and especially about Israel. 

“The lie, the lie they are spreading left and right. It’s wrong, and the only one who can present things the way it is, is me, is me. And in all my community here, the Jewish community wants somebody who also can fight antisemitism. Since the war started, the Jewish community are living with fear.” 

Pilip condemned the testimony of the presidents of Harvard, MIT and UPenn, who failed to clearly state before a congressional hearing earlier this month whether calls for intifada or the genocide of Jews on campus violated their institutions’ codes of conduct. 

“They couldn’t even condemn the intifada in calling for genocide of the Jewish people. And it was nothing for them. They didn’t see the red flag on that. Now, I want to ask you if that was happening against African Americans, against any minority class or against LGBTQ?” Pilip said. 

“But here we go when this is happening to the Jewish students, all of the sudden, that’s OK. And I’m here to say that’s not OK. And I’m here to say it as a Black person, OK, as an immigrant, as a woman, as a Jew. I’m here to draw the line. That’s unacceptable.

“We don’t have to hate each other. We have to respect each other,” she added. “We have to work together. We may not … agree with policies, which is normal. But let’s not forget, we are one nation here. We have America here. We are Americans. And we have to continue with that respect to each other, which this country, unfortunately, lost it. And I hope we’re going to be able to build a better future for our kids.” 

Pilip with fellow IDF service members

Mazi Melesa Pilip with fellow IDF service members (Fox News )

Citing the atrocities of Hamas burning and beheading babies, raping young women and taking hostages, Pilip advocated for continued U.S. support for Israel and Ukraine. 

“Tell me who else will do something like this? Evil,” she said. “The war that Israel right now is doing is not just for the future of Israel, the future of the Middle East, the future of the entire world. OK? And therefore, we need to make sure United States continues to support Israel and also Ukraine, because this is our interest, is American, is our national interest. We have to say no for injustice and Israel … And every day there is a price for that for both sides. Unfortunately, civilians are dying. But the only one we can blame is Hamas.” 

Pilip detailed how, at age 12, she was among the more than 14,000 Jews airlifted to Israel from famine-ravaged Ethiopia in 1991 as rebel forces were advancing toward the capital. 


“It was a very emotional day for us to come to Israel, to a beautiful country, a country full of lights, a country, you know, that has so many opportunities,” Pilip said, recalling having to learn a new language and become acclimated to a new culture. “Right after I finished the school, I really wanted to join the Israeli Defense Force because I wanted to give back to the country that really gave me the opportunity.

“I remember when I came to my dad and I said, ‘I want to serve.’ And he said, ‘No, you’re too skinny, too little. What are you going to do in the Israeli army?'” she recalled, “But very quickly he realized that was the things I would like to do, and he was very supportive. Later on, he was very proud. I learned a lot during the service. It was beautiful to see people from different countries who came to Israel to live joining the IDF and for one mission really to defend the country.” 

Pilip announces congress run

Mazi Melesa Pilip announces her congressional run. (Fox News)

Describing herself as someone who hates promises, Pilip says she’s used the past two years as Nassau County’s legislator for the 10th District, encompassing Great Neck, Lehigh Park and Manhasset, to freeze property taxes, fully fund law enforcement and increase the police presence to combat crime and concerns from the Jewish community amid the Israel-Hamas war.

“When this opportunity also came to run for Congress, I decided to take it because it’s really about the future of our country. We have a beautiful country, a country full of opportunities. A country really, that’s — I’m living the American dream, my husband is dreaming American dreams. But I’m not sure if my kids’ are going to live the American dream because there is a lot of extreme policies out there,” Pilip told Fox News Digital. “The only one really who benefits from it? The politician. The one that’s pretending they care about the people.” 

Vowing to support the eventual Republican nominee for president, Pilip argued it was too soon to say whether she’d support Donald Trump, noting other GOP candidates still were in the running. As for Santos, who’s under federal indictment for allegedly defrauding campaign donors and lying to Congress, Pilip said voters care more now about the issues the district is facing. 

One such issue is the migrant crisis. Pilip alleges Suozzi fully supports the Biden administration’s immigration policies, which she blames for bringing millions of people into the country without a plan, raising national security concerns over potential terrorists entering the country unchecked and ultimately disenfranchising American voters.

“The politician is doing such a great job dividing us,” said Pilip, who immigrated to the United States with her cardiologist husband, with whom she shares seven children.


“They’re bringing them in because they are the future voters,” she said. “That’s the right thing to do, really? For your American citizen, the one who voted for you? The one who trusted you? OK. And this is what you’re doing for migrants? Who are coming here without any plan, putting them on the street? That’s irresponsible. Again, this is all about power. How are we going to secure the future right now? How are we going to re-elect another two- and another four- and another six-year? That’s a game. That’s a politician’s game. That’s the real story.

“And I want people to wake up to see the reality. Yes, we support immigration. Absolutely. Yes,” she said. “And I want people to have the American dream opportunity the way I and my husband, so many immigrants here in the 3rd Congressional District. But it has to be correct. That’s what I’m standing for. Really.” 

Pilip smiles in headshot

Mazi Melesa Pilip is running to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District.  (Fox News)

Pilip said when she immigrated to the U.S., she registered as a Democrat, but she later ran for elected office as a Republican. 

“They knew I was registered as a Democrat. It wasn’t a secret,” Pilip said of the Nassau County GOP, adding she soon realized Republicans were committed to supporting law enforcement, reducing crime and lowering taxes.

On abortion, projected to be another major issue for 2024, Pilip said she is “pro-life” but would not force her views on other women.

“Abortion is a very personal decision, and I am a religious person. Therefore, I am pro-life. Me. Mazi Melesa Pilip,” Pilip said. “But I will not going to push my own beliefs on any woman. I’m not going to risk women’s rights. That’s all. Therefore, I’m not going to support a national abortion ban. I’m a woman. I understand what a woman needs. I understand. So it’s OK for me to have seven children. That’s not going to play well maybe for other women. So, why I’m going to push her to have the same beliefs, the same way of life?” 

She concluded the interview with a message to fellow women and mothers to stand against “extremist policies” pushed by the government that will impact children.


“From the day we are pregnant until we give birth — the emotion, the physical that we have to go through, how hard it is. I know, because every woman goes through the same things. And then we have to raise our children to be good children, to have great education, to find a good job. Yeah. So, where is President Biden and Tom Suozzi to protect that right for us as a mother?” she said. “We the mothers we went [through] a lot, so we don’t have a right to protect our children?

“We don’t have the right to say no to policies that are extremist policies that’s putting our children at risk? And I’m talking to mothers. Really, I want you to open your eyes, mothers,” she said. “I know you are fighters. I know you care about the future of your children. Nobody will tell you what’s best for your children. Wake up. See what’s happening around us. See all these extreme policies that are putting out there. They’re risking our children. We have to wake up. We have to say no to this.” 


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