Israel’s Arab squaddies who fight for the Jewish state

Gadsar recruits training in Negev desert

It’s first light within the Negev wilderness and Mahmud Kashua is pronouncing his first prayers of the day – a gun via his aspect. Mahmud is one of a rising number of Israeli Arabs who’ve volunteered to serve within the military of the Jewish state.

“I believe myself an Arab and a Muslim however I also consider myself part of this u . s . a .,” Mahmud tells me all the way through a break in are living fireplace practice at the range. “It’s our state and we’ve to give back, to help as much as we will be able to to the state which protects us.”

Over six months a BBC Arabic documentary team won odd get entry to to the Gadsar – an all-Arab unit of 500 within the Israeli Defence Drive. Ten times as many Israeli Arabs – Muslims and Christians – are joining the IDF compared to three years ago.

“Our project is to enlist as many as we can,” says Col Wajdi Sarhan, head of the IDF Minorities Unit. “We’ve a couple of hundred and we would like to double that in the next year.”

Symbol caption Gadsar recruits swear their oath of allegiance to Israel on the Koran

More Than 2 HUNDRED Palestinians – most commonly attackers, Israel says – have additionally been killed in that period.

At a checkpoint between two Israeli settlements, Mohammed Ayashi, a Muslim soldier, is stopping some Palestinian automobiles.

“Every So Often its hard because i am an Arab like them and they glance down on me but within the finish i’m doing my task and i have to do this,” Mohammed says. “A Few people from the way in which they answer us you’ll be able to inform they can not stand us – they give the impression of being down on us with contempt.”

One motive force says he is aware Mohammed is just doing his duty and is free to do as he wants however every other is clearly indignant.

“we wish an Arab soldier would not do that – we are all Arabs,” says the driving force. “We consider him a Palestinian and he is serving the army of career. i don’t realize what to make of it.”

‘Aid to integration’

On the Gadsar base Mahmud and the other new recruits take the oath of allegiance to Israel. His oldsters and fiancee are there to look him swear at the Koran as he’s given his own gun.

“I’m pleased with him – this is his selection and we back him. we’re satisfied and he is satisfied,” says his father, Jamil Kashua.

Symbol caption Mahmud is certainly one of a small minority of Israeli Arabs serving in the military

Again at home in an Arab the town in northern Israel there’s a barbecue in Mahmud’s honour. But he’ll simplest put on his uniform when he is within the circle of relatives compound.

“a couple of guys saw me dressed in the uniform and informed me that i am a traitor. I advised them that’s my own trade however i do not care what others say,” Mahmud says.

“If I Am a traitor then why is he living in this state?”

by contrast to many of his buddies Mahmud gets a good salary as a soldier. Unlike Jewish recruits he can follow for a furnish of land to arrange his own residence.

“Men who go to the military have an even position and live effectively,” says Jamil. “the army supports them financially and their lives transfer ahead.”

Symbol caption Gadsar infantrymen serve in the Israeli-occupied West Financial Institution

For the Israeli government increasing the collection of Arabs within the army is key to integration of the 2 communities.

“we’re doing our utmost to integrate minorities into the military to maintain the established order demographically,” says Col Sarhan. “Serving within the military is a really perfect platform to connect the Muslim community to the state.”

Safety for the long run

Some Israeli Arab politicians accuse the government of bribery. “Israel is after other folks to serve in the military who’re terrible and feature no work,” says Hanin Zoabi.

“Fifty- to FIFTY FOUR% of our Palestinian other people in Israel are under the poverty line – and the government’s policy of constructing poverty obliges people to appear for the one answer they may be able to.”

The peace process isn’t going any place it kind of feels – the two state answer continues to be a far off prospect – such a lot of young Arabs see integration into the Israeli army as their long run.

“Ten folks from my the city are serving in the military now. i have friends who want to enlist,” says Mahmud. “i urge everyone to join – to improve his or her existence and look to their long term.”

you’ll be able to watch Israel’s Arab Warriors on BBC Arabic TV at 19:10 on Tuesday 8 November.

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