1st Bedouin in IAF pilot's course

First Bedouin soldier joins IAF's exclusive pilot course as IDF works to ensure better integration of minorities.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

IDF training
IDF training
Photo by Hamad Almakt / Flash 90

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot ordered the IDF to double the number of Bedouin soldiers in 2018.

Currently, 982 Bedouin serve in the IDF, 659 in mandatory service and 323 as career officers. 11% of Bedouin soldiers become officers and commanders, compared to 22% of the general population.

Populations Manager in the IDF's Manpower Directorate Shadi Abu Paras is inaugurating a new enlistment model for Bedouin soldiers, which aims to provide solutions for the Bedouin population during the course of their IDF service, from the time they are drafted until their release.

Arutz 7 has learned that soon the first Bedouin will enlist in the prestigious Air Force pilot course. A senior IDF officer said the army sees enlistment as an "excellent platform for integrating minority citizens into Israeli society."

Various projects to encourage Bedouin enlistment are underway, and in 2018, the IDF is planning to "step on the gas" and use these projects to reach Eizenkot's enlistment goal.

Among efforts to increase Bedouin enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces is the "Star Project," in which candidates for recruitment with high potential are identified and the IDF assigns them to select units. The Bedouin recruit, who will soon be drafted into an Air Force pilot course, was found this way.

"Star Project" works with selected candidates to improve their knowledge of Hebrew, as well as giving them personal enrichment programs, before the candidates are placed in the various units.

"This course has existed for over a year," a senior officer said. "We are currently working to upgrade the course. In the meantime, 250 Bedouin soldiers have done this course and successfully integrated into the IDF."

Bedouin youth also undergo preparation prior to their registration at the draft office.

"We see the first meeting at the draft office as a central event which will decide the quality of the soldiers' service," he said. "We therefore insist every Bedouin volunteer undergo preparation to improve his scores. In 2017, we held a preparatory seminar for Bedouin soldiers, in which we taught all the mandatory subjects and administered the psychometric exam. In 2018, we will hold two working seminars, one in Israel's north and the other in the south."