New parliamentary group created to encourage minorities to join army

Father Nadaf to Post: This is not a political process, but one about security and equality.

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October 14, 2015 18:14
2 minute read.
Father Gabriel Nadaf

Father Gabriel Nadaf. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

 
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A new parliamentary caucus was launched in the Knesset on Wednesday to promote the recruitment of minorities into the IDF and national service.

The caucus, headed by MKs Miki Zohar (Likud) and MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) based on the idea of Im Tirtzu, which describes itself as a pro-Israel grassroots movement, also intends to fight incitement against minorities that join the IDF.

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Various MKs from a range of parties participated, including Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev, but no MKs from the Joint List were present.

Aramean spiritual leader Father Gabriel Nadaf, who took part in the event, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview that Christian soldiers who live in Arab communities have ongoing problems, and are harassed and attacked by some in the Arab sector for joining the military.

“In the last year, there have been 12 acts of violence against Christian soldiers in their hometowns,” said Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest who supports IDF enlistment and the integration of Christians into Israeli society.

Nadaf said: “We all believe that if you want rights from the state you should serve in the army,” indicating that 200 Christians joined the IDF this year despite threats and violence.

“This is not a political process, but one about security and equality,” he emphasized.

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Asked about the attitude of the Joint List toward minority recruitment, Nadaf replied that, “They don’t want minorities in the army.”

Arab politicians try to minimize those that support enlistment, he said, claiming that they only represent a small number of people.

Reflecting on the current terror wave, Nadaf said it is not rooted in political conflict, but rather was an ideological issue.

“If there is no security, you cannot have democracy,” he said.

Muhammad Kaabiya, a Beduin former IDF soldier who is involved with recruitment of his compatriots to the army, attended the event and told The Post that each year more and more Beduin are joining the IDF.

Kaabiya works in a pre-military training program for Beduin from northern Israel.

There are six groups of 25 Beduin involved in the program running in the North.

Addressing other issues, he said the infiltration of the Islamic Movement into Beduin society is a problem of only a small group from the Negev, and regarding relations between Beduin and the state, he said they were OK but have room for improvement.

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