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Likud MK: Time for Arabs to Enlist, Too

Chair of Knesset's Interior Committee says after hareidi enlistment, it's time for Arabs to serve the country, too.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/20/2014, 5:10 PM

MK Miri Regev
MK Miri Regev
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Chairperson of the Knesset's Committee for the Interior and Environment, MK Miri Regev (Likud), said Thursday that once the bill for drafting hareidi men into the army and national service is completed, Arabs should also be enlisted into civilian national service.

"I have no doubt that the law on equality in the burden that was completed yesterday and will reach the plenum in the coming months is a proper and important law, which does justice with those who have been bearing the burden for years,” said Regev. “It is time for every citizen of the state to be enlisted or serve in national service.”

MK Regev, a reservist brigadier-general, said that she accepts the idea of exempting a clearly defined group of people from military service because of their Torah learning – as long as the group does not grow to its present-day proportions. “That is why the general sanctions that are taken against the secular and traditional Jews who avoid military service will also apply to hareidim who do not enlist to the IDF,” she added.

"Since the law is the law – the next step that I plan to take is to deal with the Arabs who will have to bear the burden and serve in national service. In hospitals, old age homes, firefighting. I believe that every citizen has an obligation toward the state, and this is only proper,” she explained.

Radical Israeli Arab leaders have vowed to fight against any attempt to make Arabs enlist into national service. They declare that the state of Israel is "racist" toward its Arab populace and that the Arabs are therefore not obligated to serve it.

Deputy Speaker of Knesset Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) recently came out with a strong response to an article by MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am Ta’al) accusing Israel of racism.

Amar not only defended Israel’s record of providing equal rights to all its citizens, but slammed Tibi and other Israeli Arab politicians, accusing them of hurting, not helping, Israel’s Arab minority.

“Perhaps more than anyone else, Tibi represents all that is wrong with parts of the Israeli Arab leadership,” Amar wrote in a post to Congress Blog.

“Rather than encourage integration among our community, the community of Arabic-speaking Israeli citizens, Tibi supports segregation, calling for the complete ostracism of any Israeli Arab who volunteers for national civilian service,” he continued.

Tibi does this, he added, because, “he knows his political future rests on the continued demonization of the State of Israel and its Jewish majority.”

Amar took Tibi and other Arab Members of Knesset to task for their visits to despotic Arab regimes, including previous warm ties with deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and shows of support for Syria’s Bashar Assad “even while the rest of the world stands aghast at his systematic butchery.”