In the hotly disputed Israel-Palestine conflict, no one figure is more divisive than the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldier. For Palestinians, these men and women are to be feared and hated. But, for Israelis they are the first line of defense bringing peace and security to their country.
Israel's plan to recruit Arab-Israeli Christians into their national military has sparked outrage among Palestinians who fear this is just the latest move in Israel's bid to 'divide and conquer'.
Last month the Israeli Security Ministry organized a meeting to discuss their scheme with representatives from the Arab Christian community. The gathering, which took place in Nazareth's neighboring city, Nazareth Illit, included ten Arab speakers. These names have already been leaked, leading to fears of reprisals.
The controversial idea - masterminded by Ehab Shlaya, 'advisor of Christian issues' in the Israeli police - threatens to stir up further sectarian rifts within Israel's Arab community.
Many have been quick to compare this minority initiative with the conscription forced on the Druze community, which has divided them from their Palestinian peers.
Whilst they are often assumed to be enthusiastic members of the IDF, many Druze are forced to serve against their will. This week news surfaced that Palestinian Druze, Omar Saad, is facing jail time for refusing to take an IDF recruitment test. In a letter addressed to Israel's Prime Minister, Saad said: "I will not be fuel to the fire of your war".
But, whilst Saad is willing to face the consequences of his decision, many are not so brave.
If the Israeli plan goes ahead, it is feared that the Palestinian Christian community will be forced down the same path as the Druze, further hindering their fight in the bitter conflict with Israel.
What do you think of the plan to recruit Arab-Israeli Christians into the IDF? Is this part of Israel's plan to 'divide and conquer'? Share your comments with us below!
© 2000 - 2019 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)