(photo credit: Courtesy [file])
The Israeli Arab Higher Committee has begun a national campaign to warn Arab youth against being drafted into national service, sources said on Saturday.
According to leaders of local Arab councils and Arab members of Knesset, the national service is run by the Defense Ministry and therefore there was no place in its institution for Arab youth.
Balad Faction Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka insisted that any Arab who volunteered for national service will be considered "leprous" and the Arab society will "vomit him out."
In September, the AHC spoke out against a government intention to compel Arab citizens to complete the national service. It warned that the Arab community would initiate lectures around schools targeting students in an effort to mar the youths from national service.
Last month, the committee said that the government move to compel Arab citizens to carry out national service conflicted with the Arab identity and would lead to an eventual attempt to draft Arabs into the army.
Israel Radio reported that the number of Arab youth who volunteered for national service in 2007 had increased and reached 560. Further, the report said that several local Arab council leaders had in fact supported the move, but failed to announce their support in public.