Israel opens military service to the Christian minority

The recent change in protocol was implemented following IDF contacts with Israeli Christian community leaders

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In a new program to make information and voluntary military drafting options available to the Christian population of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced it will provide all potential Christian recruits voluntary enlistment forms. The forms will proactively be sent to all youth eligible for recruiting with the intention of making the IDF more accessible for this population, giving clear and coherent information regarding the voluntary enlistment process, and the different service options they may chose including combat service. The recent change in protocol was implemented following IDF contacts with Israeli Christian community leaders, and with the authorization of the Minister of Defense, Mr. Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, and the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz.

Since the service of the Christian population in Israel is not obligatory by law, potential recruiters are not required to respond to the invitation. Currently approximately 100 Christians serve in various positions and units in the IDF. Other minorities regularly serving in the IDF include Druze, Cherkess and Bedouins.

“We are actively working towards integrating all populations and see this as a very important step in that direction.” Head of the Human Resource Planning and Management Division, Brigadier General Gadi Agmon said, “This change will constitute another step in the integration and connection of the Christian population with the IDF. In recent months the IDF has begun implementing a tougher enlistment campaign among orthodox Jews, which were sofar exempt of military service. As part of this campaign, Knesset (Israel parliament) members demanded that non Jewish population, particularly Arabs (Moslems and Christians alike), will also be required to serve military or national service.