Thursday, December 30, 2004

Arabs Fighting for Israel

Click here for AmazonA recurrent theme among what Clifford May has dubbed the "posthumanitarian left," often echoed by "realists" on the right, is that Arabs are congenitally or culturally incapable of democracy. But there are in fact some one million Arabs living in the Middle East under a democratic government. We refer, of course, to the Arab citizens of Israel.

Israeli Arabs, unlike Jews, are not subject to military conscription. But they can volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces, and Ha'aretz reports increasingly many are doing just that:

While Bedouin have been volunteering for the IDF, primarily as trackers, for dozens of years, Muslim and Christian Arabs have been doing so, on a very small scale, only since the 1990s. . . .

The number of Muslim volunteers in 2003 was 64.5 percent higher than in 2000, while the enlistment of Christians increased by 16 percent over the same period.

A senior source at the IDF's Personnel Directorate notes that incomplete figures for 2004 show a further increase, at a rate of some 20 percent, in the enlistment of youth from both sectors.

The numbers are still small; "it appears that the annual number of volunteers from both sectors together does not exceed 150." But if Arabs in Israel are willing to risk their lives for democracy, why should we expect any less of Arabs in Iraq or elsewhere?

Best of the Web: Arabs Fighting for Israel

No comments: