Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Israel's new government: steps towards a civil society (not so quickly)

Here is an excerpt of my latest in Today's Zaman (20 March 2013):

Even if on the surface the demand that the Haredim also serve in the army seems just, we need to remember that it was secular Jewish politicians in the first place who extended exemptions to them and facilitated their strong influence. Second, demands that they serve in the army are irrational since it is questionable whether or not the military establishment believes they can be integrated into the ranks, due to their strict religious demands; not to mention the question if the army is ready to restructure a force that is based greatly on the integration of women, and not the segregation of sexes.

More importantly, why demand from the Haredim to serve, yet ignore the fact that there is no consensus concerning the recruitment of Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state, who make up 20 percent of the population, and are considered by some Israeli Jews as an internal threat. Concerning this case, there have been calls for the Arab community to commit to doing community service in place of the army. However, due to the fact that the Arabs suffer legal and social discrimination at the hands of the state and society, Israeli Jews are fooling themselves if they think they will agree to this. Moreover, the Arabs only need to look as far as the small Arab Druze community who are forced to serve in the army, and some Bedouin communities who volunteer, to demonstrate that army service by no means brings equality.

To continue reading, here is the link

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