Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Monday came out against the call to enlist Arabs to the IDF during a Ramadan feast in Kafr Qara. "Any sensible person understands that one cannot draft the Arab sector," he said. "Any such call is tinted with hypocrisy and even malevolence."
Rivlin was speaking at an "Iftar" meal breaking the Ramadan fast which was organized by the Abraham Fund and the local council and was attended by Arab council heads and business leaders.
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Addressing the call to enlist Arabs, Rivlin said, "The Arab public can’t do it and the Jewish public doesn't really want it."
The Knesset speaker said he strongly opposed any attempt to condition equality for Arabs with IDF enlistment. "These calls are populist at best and carry a tone of incitement at worst. We must not allow these provocations to undermine the opportunity to encourage the Arab public into civil service."
He further added, "I believe that the creation of a civil service layout within the Arab sector is a step that could benefit the Arab sector and the Israeli society at large. The Arab sector needs manpower and young volunteers can support that cause."
Rivlin also proposed establishing an independent state directorate for Arab civil service. "This directorate can answer to the Interior Ministry and work closely with the local authorities, specifically the Arab council heads."
The Knesset speaker ended his speech by declaring that "the Ramadan fast and this joint meal is an opportunity to establish confidence among us, among Jews and Muslims; to forgive one another and open our hearts."
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