Druze IDF soldier waves the Druze flag in Israel's north
Druze IDF soldier waves the Druze flag in Israel's north iStock

The Knesset approved at a preliminary reading on Wednesday a bill aimed at providing additional benefits to Israeli minorities who serve in the IDF or National Service.

The bill passed by a vote of 67 members of Knesset in favor and 17 members of Knesset opposed.

The bill, submitted by MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), states that minorities who served in the IDF or National Service will receive employment preference in civil service and government positions.

"Serving in the IDF is a declaration of loyalty to the State of Israel," said Yogev. "Therefore, we have an obligation to reward those who choose to tie their fate with that of the State of Israel, endangering themselves for the state and its citizens."

In July, two Druze police officers were murdered by three Muslim terrorists on the Temple Mount. One of the officers left a three-week-old baby and a young widow.

The bill explains that minorities who serve in the IDF or National Service, such as Druze, Bedouin, Muslims and Christians, often face violence and discrimination from their communities.

"In light of this," it reads, "we propose an amendment [to the law] which will be a social reform, aiming to encourage fair integration into Israeli society, and seeking to create social justice for those who chose to serve."

Additional MKs from various parties have signed on to the bill, including MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), MK Sharren Haskel (Likud), MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu), MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu), MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home), and MK Yoav Ben Tzur (Shas).

Inspiration for the bill first arose during a session of the Knesset Caucus to Promote Minority Enlistment in the IDF and National Service, led by MKs Miki Zohar (Likud) and Merav Ben-Ari, and initiated by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu.

Im Tirtzu Chairman Matan Peleg, who was involved in formulating the bill, said, "Strengthening and encouraging minorities who strive to integrate into Israeli society embodies the values of Zionism and is an important element for the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."

"We have an obligation to create real incentives and laud those who have chosen this path, in contrast to those who opt for isolationism and a continued battle against the State of Israel."