Beduin army inductions up nearly 200%

IDF figures on Beduin recruits for past year show 70% join combat units.

beduin tracker 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
beduin tracker 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The number of Beduin youth joining the IDF has increased by almost 200 percent over the past year, the IDF announced on Sunday.
It is a significant improvement for the army, which in recent years has complained about a process of radicalization sweeping through the Beduin sector, mostly in the Negev, where about two-thirds of the country’s Beduin live. Two weeks ago, for example, six members of the community were arrested for firebombing Israeli cars traveling on Negev roads.
According to data presented on Sunday to Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) during a visit to the Beduin Reconnaissance Battalion stationed along the border with the Gaza Strip, there has also been a sharp increase in the proportion of Beduin men serving in combat units, up to 70% among recent draftees in comparison to around 40% among their Jewish counterparts.
Following his tour of the battalion’s base at the Kerem Shalom crossing next to southern Gaza, Kara said that to retain the high draft numbers, the state needed to find discharged soldiers jobs, particularly in the public sector.
“The government is responsible for pushing the Beduin away from the IDF in recent years,” he said. “The principle of equality needs to prevail.”
Kara, who is Druse and was a major in the army, spoke with the Beduin soldiers about IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s decision earlier this month to dismiss Brig.-Gen. Imad Faris, the highest-ranking Druse officer, from active service. Faris, a former commander of Division 91 stationed along the border with Lebanon, falsely reported that he was in his military-issued car with his wife when she got into a car accident. She was not supposed to drive the vehicle without him in it.
“The chief of staff’s decision was disproportional,” Kara said.
On Wednesday, Faris is scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Kara said he hoped Barak would appoint Faris to a temporary position within the Defense Ministry and then ask the next chief of General Staff, who has yet to be chosen but will take office next February, to appoint Faris to a command post in the military.