Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why Are Israeli Arabs Losing Confidence In Their Arab Representatives In The Israeli Knesset?

Khaled Abu Toameh writes that there has been a 76% increase in the number of Arab volunteers since September 2011:
Israel's Arab citizens are clearly not listening to the bad advice they have been getting from some of their leaders, including Arab members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, who keep inciting them against Israel.

These leaders and parliamentarians -- who say they want the Arab citizens to boycott national service and any attempt by the government to fully incorporate them into Israeli society -- have been waging a campaign against the Israeli government's plan to recruit Arab citizens for (civilian) national service as an alternative to military service.

The plan seeks to solve many problems -- especially in the area of work -- facing the Arab citizens who do not serve in the Israel Defense Force.

Yet despite the campaign against national service, a report released this week revealed that there has been a 76% increase in the number of Arab volunteers since September 2011.
Over the past 2 years, 3,000 Arabs have volunteered for national service in the Arab sector in Israel, where they are sent to hospitals, schools and fire stations in their communities. Last year, there were 1,700 Arab volunteers.

National service
National service in a maternity ward Credit: Flash 90

Thus it is not surprising that most Arab Israelis oppose a move to a Palestinian state controlled by either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. They oppose the idea of land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians because it would result in some Arab villages inside Israel ending up under the Palestinian Authority's jurisdiction.

All this is not to say that the situation of Arab Israel's is perfect. Abu Toameh notes however that the issue for Israeli Arabs is not political rights under Israeli law:
The Arab citizens of Israel are not fighting for political rights, which they already enjoy -- otherwise, there would not be so many Arab political parties, or Arab Members of Parliament in the Knesset. Rather, they are fighting for better services and equality. They want more jobs in the public and private sectors and equal distribution of public funds.
Read the whole thing.

As Abu Toameh points out, the sharp rise in Arab volunteers for national service is an indication that they have lost faith in their Arab representatives who are try to incite them against Israel and against integration into the country while maintaining their Arab identity.

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