Time for the Arab community to do national service

We Arabs are citizens of this country exactly like the haredim. To the prime minister I want to say that we do not want any favors.

Anet Haskia 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Anet Haskia 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
I was born in Acre to a Muslim family. I was the only representative of the Arab sector speaking at the conscription/ suckers’ rally several weeks ago. I am a mother of three. My oldest son completed his army service six months ago. He served in an elite combat unit. He was a commander and a candidate for officer training. My daughter is also a soldier in an education unit. She served as a commander. She is now signing on to continue as a professional soldier as an officer.
My youngest son also volunteered for a year of pre-army service and he intends to go to Golani.
When I joined the struggle, there was no mention of the Arab public. Now I am smiling from ear to ear every time I hear in the media and in general about the idea that the Arab public should also take up the burden. I support a mandatory service law and demand that the state of Israel and the government not ignore our community.
We Arabs are citizens of this country exactly like the haredim. To the prime minister I want to say that we do not want any favors. We want to serve equally and we want to live side by side equally.
I am calling on the Arabs of Israel to get out of their ghetto.
You should get out on the streets and protest. You should stop being a bitter and silent voice that wallows in discrimination. Now is the opportunity to protest racism and discrimination. There is nothing to listen to in the Arab Knesset Members posing as leaders, they will lead you to hell.
It is time to carry the burden.
Equality in rights is equal to equality in burdens.
It is truly time to get out of the ghetto. For the benefit of our children we must get out of this ghetto. Arabs should change their attitude and way of thinking and understanding of giving. One should feel and be part of the country. An attitude change is necessary.
Arabs should raise their heads up; you have a right to protest. To you I say, look at what is happening in the Arab countries; there is massacre, rape, destruction, civil war. They are crying for help and there is no answer from the world. And yet here there is no bloodshed.
Here we are, everyone together in the streets. The people of Israel, Arabs and Jews, are tired. It is time for Arabs to join in this protest.
The Jews want to be united with the Arab citizens, without differences of religion, race and gender. I am begging the Arab community to get out and manage this struggle in a civil way. It is important for young men and women and the students who form the new generation. They hold a winning hand. They are the future who can change the face of the Arab society in this country.
Join me. I am here because I care. The past 70 years has passed like the wind. We should direct a new movie, called the “Israeli Arab spring,” because we don’t have another homeland.

The writer is a resident of a community in northern Israel. The article was translated from a speech she gave at the conscription protest in Tel Aviv on July 8.