A growing number of young Arabs are volunteering to serve in Israel’s army. In so doing, they are rejecting the stereotype of an oppressed minority foisted upon them by the world media.
“The country helps us and I will have a good future,” Sergeant Saleh Khalil, 20, told Reuters in a rare interview with active combat soldiers.
Khalil belongs to that sector of Arab Muslim society that believes it also has a responsibility to the state. “I enlisted in order to contribute to the country, because I live in this country,” he said.
His comrade in arms, Sergeant Yusef Salutta, 20, took that sentiment a step further.
“Why did I decide to enlist? Because I’m from this country and I love the country and I want to contribute,” he told reporters. “Everyone should enlist, anybody who lives here should enlist.”
And for Salutta, it was not just words. Reuters reported that the young Arab Muslim soldier actually wears a silver Star of David around his neck.
PHOTO: Soldiers with the IDF’s all-Arab Bedouin Reconnaissance Unit train in the southern Negev region.