Israeli Christian Arabs pushing to join the IDF

Hat tip to Weasel Zippers

Now how cool is this? After checking out the Arab Spring in our neighbouring countries and the the full-on persecution of Christians there that has followed, Arab Christians in Israel have been pushing for the past two years to have their youth drafted into the IDF. Moreover, the major organization they formed is called Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum (ICRF) –they chose it specifically because the Christian community here, for the first time, is identifying as ISRAELI and not as Arab. They are getting their wish, partially. The IDF is sending out recruitment materials to all the youth to let them easily volunteer for service. The ICRF wants them drafted just as the Jews and Druze are (e.g., it isn’t voluntary but required). Baby steps. Check it out:

For the first time in its history, Israel’s army is getting ready to send voluntary military enlistment notices to Christian Arab citizens when they turn eighteen.

The unlikely impetus behind the move is none other than the Arab Spring, the popular rebellion revolutionizing the Arab world and in the process recalibrating the relationship between Christian citizens and the State of Israel. Shocked by a new climate featuring violence against Christians in Egypt and Libya, among other countries, and displacement in Syria, some of Israel’s Christian Arabs are pushing for greater participation in their home state.

Father Gabriel Naddaf, a compelling figure in a full black beard, royal blue robes and a kalimavkion — the traditional tubular hat worn by Greek Orthodox priests that renders his already imposing height Shaquillesque — is chairman of a group called the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum (ICRF) that has been lobbying the government for the draft of Christian youth for the past two years.

The name alone — “Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum,” rather than “Arab Christians Recruitment Forum” — is a strong statement in this region. Naddaf has lost patience, he says, “with the Arab world telling us what we can do and what we should feel.”

“In light of the persecution of Christians in Arab countries just because they are Christians,” Naddaf said in a meeting with journalists this week following the army’s announcement, “our youth feels they must make a sacrifice for the country that is protecting them.” He believes that these notices, which still aren’t equivalent to the obligatory draft others face, will “open the door … to full participation in society for Christians.” But apart from an explicit welcome, the notices will include details on a possible preliminary meeting at the individual’s nearest IDF enlistment office, and reduce the amount of energy Christian youths need to expend volunteering for a service other citizens are brought into automatically.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the country made certain exceptions to its universal, compulsory military service policy.

Although the Druze and the Circassians are subject to the same draft as the Jews, Druze and Circassian women are exempt, unlike Jewish women.

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7 responses to “Israeli Christian Arabs pushing to join the IDF”

  1. Lynne says :

    And you know that there are also some, not many, Muslim Israelis who serve with honor and distinction in the IDF… voluntarily, of course.
    Unity in Israel and shared values is always good to see.

  2. Jake from Philly says :

    Nice to see something good coming out of the Arab Spring mess. I think this trend will be good for Israel.

  3. dumbledoresarmy says :

    this is very, very, very important. Fr Gabriel has chosen to refuse to be a meek, submissive, Muslim-flattering and grovelling Dhimmi; he is refusing to carry water for the Muslims in their Jihad against the Jews and the Jewish state. I wonder whether he has read Bat Yeor’s “The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam” or her later work, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam”? If not translated into the Levantine dialects of Arabic (as used in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and in Israel), those books need to be translated. A translation into Egyptian Arabic, for the benefit of the Copts, would be useful, also.

    Further, it would be great if someone within Israel were able to sponsor the translation into the local form of Arabic two very clear and accessible books by Australian scholar Mark Durie – who has read and absorbed and then built upon Bat Yeor’s work – entitled “The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom” and “Liberty to the Captives”. Durie does a searching analysis of the dhimmi mindset whereby non-Muslims who have been subjugated by Muslims are bound – by a sort of blood-oath – to serve the Muslim agenda and must allow the Muslims to abuse and exploit them at will (but all the while, like severely-abused children or spouses, dhimmis are usually in deep denial about the source of the abuse – Muslims, Islam – and are mentally “blocked” from recognising and naming the Abuse *as* Abuse…as Evil, Cruel, Unjust). Durie’s book would give Fr Gabriel additional insights as to what he is up against: *centuries* of violent “conditioning”, or to borrow another word, “grooming” that has warped the psyche of Levantine Christians as it *also* warped the psyche of Jews who lived under Muslim rule.

    A major feature of the dhimma *system* – which is a codified and sacralised system of Abuse second to none – is that dhimmis have NO right of self-defence. They are explicitly forbidden to keep or bear arms, and they are *not* permitted to strike a muslim, no matter what.

    The Jews of Israel, by creating the IDF and claiming sovereignty, and defending themselves against Muslim assault, broke the “dhimma” by which all Jews within the dar al Islam were imprisoned and abused for centuries.

    Now, Fr Gabriel is encouraging the Christians resident within Israel, all of whose forebears would have been bound – and spiritually crushed – by the dhimma system in previous centuries, to emulate their Jewish compatriots and reject dhimmitude; to claim their right to keep and bear arms and to defend themselves and their Jewish neighbours…against the Muslim assault that would destroy the Jewish state. It is no wonder that many Muslims within Israel are *furious* with Fr Gabriel – he is an “uppity dhimmi” – and it is also no wonder that some among the Christians – those who are still psychologically and spiritually trapped by the dhimmi mindset, still in denial – are also panicking, and furious.

    • Mike says :

      DA, I think a lot of what you write is accurate (maybe all of it is). I think in some ways, an end to the dhimmi system is what many Arabs find so frightening about Israel. Since the Jews, the lowest of the low in the system, stood up, how long will it be before the Kurds, Christians, Druze Berbers and others do the same. Not long apparently.

  4. Lynne says :

    DA and Mike, your comments are thought-provoking and interesting.

  5. israeliminx says :

    Wow excellent comments. I’d not thought about it from that perspective — Israel as a threat to a Dhimma system and ripple effects.

  6. Mac says :

    Yes! Let them join.

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