IDF seeks enlistment of Christian Arabs

The Israeli military says it is inviting young Arab-Israeli Christians to enlist.

The minority historically views itself as part of the Palestinian people and considers service in the army as taboo. But a recent push by a Greek Orthodox priest to persuade more Christians to enlist has set off an emotional debate. Father Gabriel Nadaf said Christians must serve in the army to integrate into Israeli society and increase their access to jobs.

The officer in charge of the army’s campaign, Col. Gal Ben-Shaul, said on April 22 that the army will now send out enlistment invitations to Arab Christ-ians. Military service is mandatory for Jews.

Israeli Arabs make up just over one-fifth of Israel’s 8 million people. Of those about 128,000, or less than 10 percent, are Christians. — ap