Report: Israeli-Arab lawmakers incite against IDF enlistment

The Knesset will convene an emergency meeting to probe sedition against the IDF peddled by Israeli-Arab MKs. 

Israeli-Arab Members of Knesset (MK) from the Joint Arab List political party are violating the law by encouraging and assisting an organization that incites Arab youth not to enlist in IDF service, according to a new report published by the student Zionist organization Im Tirtzu.

The report focuses on Bladna, a state-recognized non-profit organization, whose activities include holding conferences, seminars and workshops dedicated to discouraging Arab youth from enlisting in the IDF or the alternative, the National Service.

Much of Bladna’s activities take place inside schools.

According to Section 109 of Israel’s Penal Code, one can face up to five years imprisonment if he “incited or induced a person liable to service in an armed force not to serve in it or not to report for military duty.”

The report explains how Bladna’s efforts to discourage the enlistment of Druze youth, who are liable for IDF service, represent a clear violation of the law.

One example cited in the report was a 2016 “History of the Palestinian Druze” seminar hosted by Bladna in the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel, which stressed the “importance of refusing to enlist.”

In addition, the findings raise concerns that Bladna’s activities also constitute acts of sedition, which is defined by the Penal Code as “the promotion of conflict and enmity between different parts of the population.”

Arab members of Knesset have publicly supported the organization and have participated in their events. In April 2017, Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh, MK Hanin Zoabi, MK Yousef Jabareen and MK Masud Ganaim participated in a Bladna-hosted workshop in a Kfar Kanna school that focused on discouraging IDF enlistment.

Odeh’s involvement in the organization goes as far back as 2010, when he spoke at several Bladna conferences and was introduced as the Chairman of the Committee for Combating National Service and All Forms of Enlistment. In January 2017, Odeh voiced his support for refusing to enlist in a Twitter post.

Arab-Israelis serve in the IDF, and their numbers are growing steadily, although others in their community often view military service in the Jewish state negatively.

Fewer than 10 Arab Muslims served in the Israeli army a few years ago, but now their numbers are in the dozens.

Similarly, non-Jewish enlistment in civilian national service, an equivalent to serving in the IDF, has increased 650 percent in just six years.

Foreign Funding and Brainwashing

The report also draws attention to Bladna’s sources of funding, which include the US-based New Israel Fund and European governments. According to details obtained from Israel’s Non-Profit Registrar, in 2015 Bladna received nearly NIS 2 million from the European Union (EU).

Chairman of the Subcommittee for Personnel in the IDF, MK Amir Ohana, announced his intention to convene an emergency committee session to discuss the findings of the report.

“We cannot allow for the haters of Israel to harm the IDF and its soldiers,” said Ohana. “These despicable individuals are trying to discourage IDF enlistment of the Druze community, which includes the best of our warriors and heroes.”

He called on the police to launch a criminal investigation against those involved in Bladna.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg emphasized how the New Israel Fund and European governments are trying to “brainwash” Arab youth against integrating in Israeli society.

“It is inconceivable that anti-Israel incitement can penetrate unhindered into Israeli schools,” said Peleg. “It is important to note how the ones to suffer the most are the Arab youth, who are being brainwashed to oppose the society in which they live.”

By: World Israel News Staff