Hotovely: Zahalka telling Arabs to be freeloaders

Balad leader: Requiring Israeli Arabs to do civilian service "grounds for a battle"; says will excommunicate volunteer Arabs.

June 9, 2013 14:14
2 minute read.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely decried Balad leader Jamal Zahalka’s call for Israeli Arabs not to do civilian service Sunday.

“Zahalka is teaching Israeli Arabs to be freeloaders, to take as much as they can without giving anything to the country,” Hotovely said, referring to the MK’s statement on Saturday that requiring Israeli Arabs to do civilian service is a “campaign to thwart [their] national aspirations.”

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According to recommendations by the the Peri Committee, Israeli Arabs will not be required to do civilian service.

However, the government will set target numbers of Arabs serving: 3,000 in 2014 and 6,000 in 2017.

Zahalka spoke at a conference of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, where Arab parties and religious leaders expressed unequivocal opposition to civilian service, rejecting equality in the burden of service as a condition for receiving equal rights.

The Monitoring Committee declared that the idea of service for all is based on a militaristic society and is an attempt to assimilate Arab youth into Israeli society.

“We must stand up against the national civilian service in a clear, determined way. It is not a topic for discussion, it’s grounds for a battle, and we can fight,” Zahalka said, according to an Army Radio report.

The Balad leader said that any Arab youth who does civilian service will be excommunicated.

“Whoever does national service should be embarrassed,” Zahalka stated. “A girl should know that if she does national service, there is a good chance that no man will want to get engaged with her and she will be boycotted. The same goes for boys.”

Hotovely spoke out against Zahalka, saying that “over the years since the State of Israel’s establishment, Israeli Arabs enjoyed health services, National Insurance Institute benefits, infrastructure, education and other civil services.”

“Israeli Arabs must carry the burden through civilian service,” Hotovely stated. “They cannot demand equal rights without equal obligations.”

National Civilian Service Administration director Sar- Shalom Djerbi called the Monitoring Committee “disconnected from processes happening on the ground and a continuing rise in the number of [Arab] volunteers.”

“We will act to protect 3,000 Arab volunteers, whose only sin is to contribute to the Arab community and Israeli society, from any danger and use any legal means we can to fight threats of physical and verbal violence and boycotts of the volunteers,” Djerbi stated.

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