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MUST READ: The Bedouin Fighting For Israel

The Daily Mail has a story not typical of the mainstream media: Israeli Bedouin fighting proudly in the IDF, defending Israel.

bedouinIn a small, rural cemetery in northern Israel, 25-year-old Mohammad Ka’abiyah brushes some leaves carefully from a headstone.
Like any Israeli graveyard, a number of those buried were killed in action. But here – as the numerous crescents and pieces of Arabic calligraphy indicate – all of the fallen soldiers were Muslim.

‘If you told this story to people from Europe or the United States, or even other Arabs from the Middle East, they wouldn’t believe it,’ Ka’abiyah tells MailOnline. ‘But it’s really a true situation.’

Ka’abiyah, a Political Sciences student at Haifa university, is one of up to 300,000 Bedouin Arabs living in Israel, all of whom are Sunni Muslims.
Arabs comprise about 20 per cent of Israel’s population. They have equal rights in law but are generally exempt from serving in the army.
However, certain tribes are particularly patriotic towards Israel, and choose to join the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). About 1,700 Bedouin soldiers are currently enlisted, although there is no obligation on them to do so.

Many Bedouin are recruited as trackers, drawing on their desert heritage to catch terrorists seeking to infiltrate the country along Israel’s borders.

Like almost all the men in his village – which is also called Ka’abiya, the name of his Bedouin tribe – he volunteered, becoming the first one from his clan to join the Air Force, where he served in a helicopter unit.
‘I am proud to be a Bedouin fighter,’ he says. ‘And I am also proud to fight in the Israeli army. I am proud of being Bedouin, Arab, Muslim and Israeli.’

The alliance between Israel and the Bedouin began in the early 20th Century, when Jews and Bedouin joined forces to protect the Jewish communities from their hostile Arab neighbours during the British Mandate.

In 1948, when Israel was established, the Bedouin pledged their allegiance to the Jewish State and were granted full citizenship.

Today, the Bedouin comprise about 2.5 percent of Israel’s population.
Although they are exempt from conscription, up to 10 per cent of eligible Bedouin men continue the tradition by volunteering for the IDF each year.

Read the whole thing. Naturally, it also goes into some of the tensions between Bedouin and Israel, but the tone is overwhelmingly positive, and the story should make some Israel haters’ heads explode. Which is always a good thing.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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