The politically correct point of view says Israelis and Arabs should separate along race lines. Then why do Israel's Arabs like their homeland of Israel so much?
By Caroline B. Glick
In 2010, Cpl. Eleanor Joseph became the first female Arab combat soldier in the Israel Defense Force. Joseph, a Christian Arab told Israel's daily Ma'ariv that her good luck charm is a drawing of the Star of David with the caption: "I have no other land, even when my ground is burning."
Her commander drew it for her.
Joseph explained, "It is a phrase that strengthens me. Every time I experience hardship, I read it. Because I was born here. The people I love live here: my parents, my friends. This is a Jewish state? Yes, it is. But it's also my country. I can't imagine living in any other place. I think every person should serve in the army. You live here? You make your home here? Then go defend your country. What does it matter that I'm an Arab?"
Joseph's story represents an incipient trend of integration among Israel's Arab community. Among other things, this trend is manifest in the consistently rising number of Israeli Arab students who elect to study in Hebrew-language schools and in the rising number of Israeli Arabs who elect to serve in national service, the civilian equivalent of military service.
A poll of Arab youth carried out in late 2007 made clear how widespread this integrationist impulse has become. 75 percent of Arab youth aged 16-22 supported voluntary national service.
And yet, despite these sentiments and developments, Arab Israelis who seek to integrate into Israeli society and reject the separatist messages of their political leaders are forced to contend with extraordinary social pressures and even coercion to prevent them from acting in accordance with their wishes.
A new study completed this week by Im Tirtzu exposes the vast array of NGOs generously funded by the supposedly pro-Israel New Israel Fund as well as by foreign governments which is running a campaign to oppose Cpl. Joseph and her comrades — Arabs and Jews alike. Since 1999 these groups have been conducting a campaign to undermine Arab integration into Israeli society specifically and demoralize and reduce the social standing of those who serve in the IDF, national service and IDF reserves generally. The campaign is being carried out on a dual track of discouraging Israeli Arabs from serving in the IDF or national service, and of opposing government benefits to IDF veterans, reservists, and those who undertook national service by claiming that these benefits unjustly discriminate against Israeli Arabs.
Im Tirtzu's report argues that the dual nature of the campaign, underwritten by the same funders shows that the goal "is to prolong irredentism or non-integration of the Arab sector in order to encourage it to act as a sector demanding national recognition and advance the aim of transforming the State of Israel from a Jewish democratic state into a binational state."
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