Carrots, Not Sticks, Are the Way to Bring Conscription to Israel’s Arabs and Ultra-Orthodox

March 13 2018

Israel’s governing coalition narrowly avoided collapse this past weekend over the objections of ḥaredi members to legislation that would increase the number of ultra-Orthodox Jews serving in the IDF. Yet the underlying problem is more widespread than that. Currently, notes Yoaz Hendel, only 50 percent of young Israelis enter the military:

There are countless draft dodgers [on] the left and on the right. And there are two groups which the state of Israel has failed to deal with from the very beginning: the Ḥaredim and the Arabs. [However], ḥaredi society has been undergoing a revolution in recent years. About half of the men work [rather than studying full-time]. More and more pursue higher education and thereafter join the labor market. Thousands of Ḥaredim also enlist every year. The reasons—mainly financial—aren’t all that important. The important thing is that, eventually, the integration process will be completed. The state has only two options in this context: to encourage it or to get in the way.

There is no, and there will be no, political solution to the problem. . . . The solution must come in an indirect manner. [The same is true for] Arab society. Generous benefits for anyone who serves in the army, . . . while expanding [opportunities for] national service, [is the best way forward]. . . .

Beyond the benefits, the national-service option should be expanded. ZAKA [a ḥaredi-run organization that responds to terror attacks], United Hatzoloh [an ambulance service], soup kitchens—ḥaredi society excels in such charitable activities, and any such organization can be regulated and incorporated into the national-service program. The hours required can be fixed by law, and ḥaredim can participate alongside their yeshiva studies. The same applies to Arab society: Arabs can and do serve in the fire and rescue services, in the police, or as teaching assistants in schools—and this service should be recognized.

Israel doesn’t need more soldiers, but it must encourage the ḥaredi integration process—not through laws that will be hobbled by political maneuvering but through carrots. Moreover, Israel must create a new generation of Israeli Arabs who define themselves as such and are interested in Israelization rather than [adapting] a Palestinian identity, which fosters separatism and support for terror.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Ynet

More about: IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Ultra-Orthodox

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war