IDF soldiers waving Israeli and Druze flags
IDF soldiers waving Israeli and Druze flags iStock

A new bill submitted on Thursday by MKs Ofir Sofer (Yamina) and Keti Shitrit (Likud) aims to provide additional benefits to Israeli minorities who served in the IDF or national service.

According to the bill, minorities who served in the IDF or national service would receive employment preference in civil service and government positions over their counterparts who did not serve.

"There are minorities living in the State of Israel who chose to tie their fate with the fate of the state," states the explanatory note of the bill, "and who dedicate the best years of their lives to serving in the IDF or national service, often at great personal sacrifice in regards to their social and familial standing."

The bill continues: "Some are discriminated against in their area of residence, and some suffer from violence or incitement only because they chose to serve the State of Israel and integrate. This amendment is a social reform that aims to encourage fair integration into Israeli society and seeks to create social justice towards those who chose to serve."

MK Ofir Sofer said that "the fact that there are minorities who serve in the IDF and in national service is not something that should be taken for granted."

"Those who volunteer to serve in the IDF or in national service are absurdedly left behind because they are late in starting higher education or entering the workforce," continued Sofer, "and therefore the goal of the amendment to the law is to give them preferential treatment."

MK Keti Shitrit said that the bill aims to "strengthen the non-Jewish community that gives to the state."

"It is unthinkable that those who served should be last in line for public positions. I am certain that this legislation will help these members of the minority communities and will encourage more to integrate in Israeli society."

The idea of the bill first arose during a session of the Knesset Caucus to Promote Minority Enlistment in the IDF and National Service initiated by the grassroots Zionist organization Im Tirtzu.

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu that inspired 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 call for isolationism and for war against the State of Israel."