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Liberman Calls for Investigation Against Arab MK

Foreign Minister says MK Basel Ghattas should be investigation over call on Christian Arabs to refuse to enlist.
By Ido Ben Porat
First Publish: 4/24/2014, 3:14 AM

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called on Wednesday for an investigation to be opened against Arab MK Basel Ghattas (Balad), who several months ago called on Christian Arabs to refuse to enlist into the IDF and to burn their draft summonses. 

Liberman called on the Attorney General to open an investigation "on suspicion of incitement and sedition against MK Basel Ghattas who called on young Christians to burn those enlistment orders."

The Foreign Minister further said that "those among the Christian Arabs who join the IDF face threats and violence by elements in the Arab sector and it is our duty to strengthen them and to act decisively against those who threaten and incite, such as MK Ghattas, who should be in prison or in Syria, and not the Israeli Knesset.”

Liberman welcomed the IDF’s decision to send summons to Christian Arabs, adding that he met several months ago with Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek-Orthodox priest who is active in a group which supports and works toward more Christian Israelis joining the army. Nadaf has advocated for a strong connection among Arab Christians with the State of Israel and has been sanctioned by the official Greek Orthodox church over his views.

“This move by the IDF should be another step towards drafting all young Israelis reaching the age of 18, whether they are secular, hareidi, Druze, Bedouin, Muslim or Christian,” said Liberman.

Meanwhile, the young leadership of the Jewish Home party on Wednesday sent MK Ghattas a faux flight ticket to Iran, suggesting that “move to a country where you will not be forced to enlist.”

"In view of your call to Israel's Arab Christian citizens, to burn military enlistment orders and, in effect, prevent their integration into Israeli society, we suggest that you offer an example and be the first to do so,” they explained.

They also called on Ghattas to resign from the Knesset, burn his Israeli ID card and move to Iran. “In order to assist you in this somewhat difficult move, we have bought you a special flight ticket in the Iranian airline, to make things easier for you,” they wrote tongue-in-cheek. 

In January, the Forum of Christian IDF soldiers revealed that Christian Arab recruitment is on the rise. The IDF does not provide precise numbers of Christians serving in its ranks, but the forum says the increase is significant and that there are currently 300 Christians serving in the IDF, 157 of them in the conscript army.