Arab Israelis speak on why they choose to serve in the IDF

i24NEWS

2 min read
An Israeli Merkava tank takes part in a brigade maneuver in the Golan Heights on January 3, 2022.
Michael Giladi/Flash90An Israeli Merkava tank takes part in a brigade maneuver in the Golan Heights on January 3, 2022.

An Arab officer says 'I’m proud… Because I was born in this land, I was born in Israel'

i24NEWS' Yoseph Haddad met with members of the Bedouin desert reconnaissance unit to provide a rare glimpse into the lives of Arabs who choose to serve in Israel’s military.

A soldier identified as “A” spoke of his experience as an Arab Israeli serving in the unit.

“I am from the Negev desert, where crimes take place… so I thought to myself, what will I achieve in the end?” he told i24NEWS.

The soldier said he left home due to violence, and entered a boarding school, which enabled him to receive an education from the state.

“It gave me so much and never asked for anything in exchange,” he said.

However, news of his service was not well received in his home village.

“They did not accept me in any way… I got away from them, and told them to get away from me,” the serviceman continued.

For many Arabs serving in the state’s military, the decision to enlist is driven by shared concerns regarding the threats facing their home country - Israel.

When a rocket comes from Gaza or from Lebanon, it doesn’t distinguish between an Arab, a Jew, or any other (person),” an Arab Israeli officer, who served for nine years, said.

The commander explained that in 2006 two rockets fell on an area where he lives, killing two children.

He urged others in the Arab world “to come for a visit to see for themselves. I’m proud… Because I was born in this land, I was born in Israel.”