The IDF has observed a rise in the number of Christian-Arab Israelis enlisting in the IDF this year.
Since June, 84 Christians have volunteered the military, representing a spike in the recruitment rate, which has averaged 50 new annual recruits in past years.
“The last recruitment cycle is the largest observed in recent years,” an army source told The Jerusalem Post. A total of 140 Christian Arabs serve in the enlisted forces, while 400 additional Christians are in the reserves.
“The contribution of minorities who voluntarily enlist is very important to the IDF’s capabilities,” the source stated.
Some 60 Beduin-Israelis signed up for military service in 2013 as well.
The IDF’s Personnel Directorate is responsible for overseeing the recruitment of minorities, who join up through a range of programs, such as conferences for high school students, in which their options in the IDF are discussed in detail.
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Officers from the Personnel Directorate conduct home visits to perspective recruits, and accompany them throughout their recruitment process.
Earlier this week, 90 enlisted and reserve Christian soldiers gathered in Nazareth for a conference by the Forum for Enlisting Christians, led by Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Nadaf. The forum’s members have been subject to threats by radical elements in the Arab Israeli community, including assaults.
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It has been credited by the military with doubling the number of Christians serving in the security forces.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a video greeting to the conference, which met on Sunday, vowing to stand by the soldiers and to face down threats together with it. “I salute you, and support you,” Netanyahu told the forum.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/IDF-sees-rise-in-number-of-Christian-conscripts-in-2013-336107