FM: Cadets' course demands essence of democracy
Foreign Ministry sources comment on attacks against Lieberman over his demands that ministry cadet candidates must complete national, military service. 'He presented these opinions during the election campaign, and they are what got him the job as foreign minister,' source says
Following the political storm caused by the Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's demand that anyone who has not served in the Israel Defense Forces or completed national service should not be eligible to take part in the Foreign Ministry's cadets' course, sources from his office said Monday evening this should not stop anyone from becoming a cadet.
"The proposal does not prevent anyone interested from becoming a cadet, and anyone with enough affinity to representing the country, surely should have enough affinity to serve in national service," the source says.
Lieberman's demand, which was first exposed on Ynet, means that Israeli Arabs and other minorities that abstain from serving in the IDF or performing national service, cannot be accepted to the cadets' course as they have been so far.
While there aren't many Israeli diplomats from the Arab or ultra-Orthodox sectors, blocking the entrance of those who did not serve the State, has awakened many grievances from the sectors that already feel discriminated against.
In response to his remarks, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor), demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu call the foreign minister to order.
"Lieberman's serial and unbearable statements are wearing out the government's future and achievements, and are first and foremost hurting Netanyahu, how is on a critical diplomatic mission."
According to Herzog," It should be made clear to Lieberman, who is acting out of narrow political motives, that the unstoppable flow of statements fails to serve the State's interest."
Sources say the foreign minister wishes to encourage members of the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors interested in working in the Foreign Service to at least commit to national service, if not full military service, just like any Israel citizen.
Foreign Ministry sources were perplexed as to why Lieberman's stance caught a number of MKs and ministers by surprise. "All these attacks on Lieberman are hypocritical. He presented these opinions during the election campaign, and they are what got him the job as foreign minister, and brought him 15 mandates," a Foreign Ministry source said.
Lieberman even believes that his demands of the cadets reflect his commitment to the principles of democracy: "This is actually the essence of democracy – to implement within the Foreign Ministry what he promised in the campaign, and the things for which he was elected. There is no reason the soldiers, a combat solider or another who completed full service, should be discriminated against at the age of 21, while someone else at the same time did not serve," he said.