Discrimination hasn't prevented other minorities from serving - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • An Israeli
    • 12.06.13 | 14:27 (IDT)

    During WWII, Japanese Americans from California, who grew up in communities where they had to use the public pool during special segregated hours, whose employment prospects were limited and whose families were locked up in relocation camps served in the US army (in special segregated units). Blacks of course, couldn't vote in most of the south, couldn't drink water from the same public fountains, couldn't go to white schools, couldn't sit anywhere on buses, etc , and even today are still discriminated against (see for example stats on black vs white marihuana use, verses jail sentences.) This never prevented them from serving in the US armed forces - on the contrary many of them used their service as a stepping stone out of poverty via the training, job opportunities and veterans benefits. So I don't think main factor is that Arabs are discriminated against. The problem is that their nation, Israel, is in conflict with their ethnic group the Arab people, as many of them will admit. This was also the case for Japanese Americans during WWII, but in their case they chose loyalty to the nation over loyalty to their ethnic group, as for example the Israeli Bedouin and Druse have done. The other part of the problem is that Jewish Israelis have not done much to make Arabs feel welcome and a part of Israeli culture and society. However, the behavior of Jewish Israelis to Arab Israelis has been considerably better, than, say, the behavior of WASPs to Japanese Americans during the WWII period, which is a similar analogy, although the threat to American from Japan was far shorter and less severe by comparison. It has also been rather better than that of Southern whites to blacks - there are no laws keeping Arabs from voting, prohibiting them from owning homes in Jewish areas, staying in hotels, there's no Israeli version of the KKK etc. There is, however, a good deal of de facto discrimination against Arabs. However, there is also plenty of defacto discrimination against women in terms of salaries, career advancement, personal status issues (divorce and child custody in the rabbinical courts), freedom to worship as they see fit, etc, and this doesn't stop Jewish women from serving. So I think we ought to call a spade a spade (if you'll pardon the expression) and admit that it's the ethnic issue, not the discrimination issue that's the deciding factor here. Although it is not PC to say so, it may well be justified too (How many Syrian Iranian Jews, for example, would like to be serving in their nation's army (or even some alternative such as the Red Crescent of Iran) if there is a conflict between those nations and Israel or while there is a not too remote possibility of there being one. Not many, I would suppose. Thus, I think this issue should be postponed until peace arrives and has taken root.

    from the article: Civilian service for freeloaders
    First published 05:22 12.06.13 | Last updated 05:22 12.06.13
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