Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Thursday said that while a discussion about equalize the service burden in Israel must include every sector, including Israeli Arabs, the issues of ultra-Orthodox (haredi) and Israeli Arab service are completely separate questions.
"I think that it is a completely separate question that does not need to be put on the agenda (right now)," Rivlin told Israel Radio. "And if we're talking about eligibility for rights, we need to start taking care of the gap that has formed over the past 63 years between the Arab society in Israel and the Jewish society."
Though saying a discussion about civilian service for Israeli Arabs is legitimate, he strongly rejected the idea of drafting Arabs into the IDF. The Israeli Arabs' "dilemma between allegiance to their people and their country is something we need to respect," he said.