Friday, September 25, 2015

Is It Good for Israeli Arabs to be Exempted from Military Conscription?

Many years ago I had learned that Israeli Arabs are exempted from serving in the military in the State of Israel. When I first read of this the situation was presented to me as a generous exemption to them to prevent them from having to fight against other Arabs.

But what happens when a society imposes military conscription but allows an ethnic minority to not be conscripted? The exempted minority become second class citizens. And this exposes such people to all kinds of problems that they are forced to endure.

This point is made by one Palestinian writer who is a citizen of Israel commenting on a recent statement by Israeli MK and former finance minister Yair Lapid mentioning some of the problems this exempted minority face.
What have you ever done for us, Palestinian citizens of Israel? As finance minister you tried to lower housing prices in a populist move by slashing VAT to zero — but only for military veterans. And what about those who did not serve in the army — i.e., Arabs? In their case, you wanted the law to apply only when purchasing an apartment under NIS 600,000 ($150,000). That means you wanted to encourage Arabs to continue living in poverty stricken neighborhoods. As far as you are concerned, if there is no loyalty, there should be no reasonably priced housing for Arabs.

What plans have you or your party promoted for the well being of those [Palestinian] residents behind whom you are now trying to hide? You mention in your article the products produced by Arab citizens, as if we were a real factor in the Israeli economy. Meanwhile, the Ashkenazi elite to which you belong does all it can to prevent Arab communities from establishing and developing industrial zones, thus preventing them from achieving economic autonomy and keeping them poor and dependent on favors from the likes of you. (Rami Younis, Using Palestinians as a human shield against BDS, +972 Magazine, September 20, 2015.)
Never thought of that when I first read of this exemption from military conscription.

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