maandag 19 november 2007

Arabische Knessetleden verklaren Arabische vrijwilligers tot 'melaatsen'

Wie in Israël niet in militaire dienst hoeft of kan, kan op vrijwillige basis een alternatieve sociale dienstplicht vervullen gedurende een jaar. De Arabische Knessetleden zijn echter fel gekant tegen deelname van Arabische jongeren aan deze 'national service', en verklaren vrijwilligers die zich hier toch voor aanmelden tot 'melaatsen'. Zoiets heet volgens mij een 'getto-mentaliteit'.
Hieronder een uitgewogen commentaar van Haaretz.

Last update - 10:08 14/11/2007

By Haaretz Editorial  tags: Arabs, Israel
Opposition to young Arabs volunteering for national service unfortunately unites all Arab MKs. An Arab rap group has composed a song protesting the possibility, rallies have been held, signs have been posted, and MK Jamal Zahalka has said he will consider anyone who volunteers a "leper." One can understand the refusal to cooperate with an establishment that has discriminated against Arabs since the inception of the state. But those who sincerely want to promote equality between Jewish and Arab citizens cannot support such an isolationist attitude.

It is difficult to be an Arab in a state that earmarks Jewish National Fund land only for Jews, where residential communities deny Arabs the right to join them, where the Knesset legislates a citizenship law that prevents family unification between Israeli Arabs and their Palestinian spouses.

But all who value equality must demand more Israelization of the Arabs. Meanwhile, the Arab leadership is demanding more Palestinization, explaining that its opposition to national service stems from its fear that it is an attempt to make the Arabs more Israeli.

National service is an attempt to improve young Arabs' chances of integration into society. It is not the first step on the road to making such service mandatory. That is why the national service administration was established outside the defense system. Arab leaders' suspicions may be understandable, but it is hard to accept the sweeping incitement they have expressed.

The campaign against volunteering for national service is liable to be understood as opposition to shared civic life, even egalitarian civic life.

This is not military service by the back door, as Arab community leaders try to claim. Rather, it is an alternative that enables everyone who is exempt from military service, no matter what the reason, to choose a volunteer activity for one year. The service is not forced on anyone, and it benefits the volunteer more than it does the country.

For 18-year-olds, this is an opportunity to step outside the bubble into which they were born, and feel - to some extent - equal to those who serve in the Israel Defense Forces, as well as to receive university benefits that currently are given only to army veterans.

From the outset it was clear that the ultra-Orthodox would not be pleased with volunteer service in secular settings, so they have been offered national service in their communities. Less clear is the desire of the Arabs to close themselves off, using an argument similar to that of the ultra-Orthodox - the fear of Israelization of the youth, that is, the fear that they might integrate too much into Israeli society and lose their national identity. It might be expected that the Arabs would view national service as a means to leverage their personal advancement, to break down walls and to increase equality.

The Arab political leadership that is afraid to lose its young people to "Israeliness" may be more fearful of losing them as voters. As it inveighs and incites against those who volunteer for national service, it is working against its own public, and only encouraging parties, like Yisrael Beiteinu, that claim that Israeli Arabs will never be Israelis.

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