The government on Sunday will discuss Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to give preference to those who served in the IDF and volunteered in national service when selecting candidates for the Foreign Ministry's cadet course.
If the proposal is adopted by the Cabinet, members of the Arab and haredi sectors will face difficulty when joining the Israeli Foreign Service.
As initially revealed by Ynet, Lieberman brough up the proposal during a Foreign Ministry management meeting last August. In the meeting, the foreign minister demanded that those who did not serve in the IDF or complete national service not be admitted to the prestigious cadet course or be allowed to represent Israel abroad.
Sources close to Lieberman said that the bill was meant to encourage members of the Arab and haredi sectors who wish to enlist with the Foreign Ministry to at least commit to national service, if not to full military duty – like other Israeli citizens.
Now, after necessary legal considerations, the proposal will be presented to the cabinet. "The State of Israel must aspire to adapt itself to the existing situation in other western democracies such as the United States and France, where acceptance of military alumni into public service is anchored in legislation or presidential edict," the explanation for the proposal says.
It adds, "As part of the process of enlisting Israeli diplomats, and in light of the feeling of commitment to the state required of those representing it abroad, it is proper to consider the basic values of the State of Israel and Israeli society, which are expressed among other things by those who gave their best years to serve the state and the society by way of army service, civil service, or actions for the benefit of the state or society."
The proposal is expected to stir anger in sectors excluded by the bill. Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh responded cynically and said, "If Lieberman had not proposed such a thing it would have seemed odd to me. This is Lieberman, and this is his policy, and it is important the world sees it."
He added, "I don't know who can represent such a government in the world and I don't think anyone with a bit of conscience can even talk to such a government. I am not one of Israel's marketers in the world."
Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report