Forcing Israeli Arabs to do mandatory national service, which is being debated in the Knesset, is “a declaration of war” an Arab Knesset member has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We shall strongly resist. [Arab] youth will not obey mandatory national service,” Balad Knesset member Jamal Zahalka told Netanyahu, according to Ynet. “The attempt to force compulsory service on Arab youth is a declaration of war on the Arab sector.”
Netanyahu announced on Thursday that “Arab citizens, along with the haredim, must carry their equal share of the burden,” Ynet reported.
The prime minister and deputy prime minister Shaul Mofaz are to meet today to complete a plan to gradually integrate Arabs and haredi Orthodox Jews into the Israel Defense Forces or to perform some form of national service.
A leading Islamic leader in the country also forcefully rejected the call for compulsory national service for the country’s Arabs.
“The Islamic Movement will not accept the proposal to enlist Arabs into national service because it will pave the way for IDF service which we will not be part of it,” Ynet reported Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, as saying.