“The Civic Service”: A Prelude to Military Service in the Israeli Army

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

“Civic Service and the Palestinians in Israel” is a booklet published by the Center of Contemporary Studies in Um el-Fahm to awaken the ‘Israeli’ Palestinians of 1948 to the trap within this project, “the civic service”, being marketed by the Israeli occupying State. The Palestinian community of 1948 has been facing extreme adversities and challenges not only affecting their very existence, but also aiming to defame their very character as a people who lost its majority and became a minority by the Israeli brute force of military occupation. Inducing the Palestinians of 48 to accept and take part in ‘the civic service’ to prove their loyalty to the Zionist state as Israeli citizens is only the first step to get the Palestinians to recognize and accept the final status of the Hebrew state which is “the Jewish state” that is exclusively for Jews only. Thus, the Palestinians of 48 have now to choose between loyalty to the Israeli ‘Jewish State’ which makes them as non-Jews ‘outside its boundaries’ while living there, or ‘the transfer’ by driving them out of ‘the Jewish state’ which is meant to become “the homeland of the Jews”. In other words, the Palestinians of 48 would be ‘out’ in both cases.

The project of “civic service” has one single agenda which is to obtain the Palestinian recognition of “the Jewish state” to give it legitimacy. The book published by Oxford University titled: “Multiple Cultures and Citizenship” includes that “citizen rights are not based mainly upon citizenship, but upon the organic association with the dominant group”. This is the current definition of citizenship in Israel which does not apply to everyone holding the Israeli citizenship. Citizenship in Israel, with all its civic rights, is meant for all citizens who swear loyalty to ‘the Jewish state’ with all its Biblical meanings and “divine entitlements” which only belong to Jews. In other words, because expelling/ ‘transferring’ the Palestinians out of Israel cannot be done now, then, the only way is to get the Palestinians of 48 to recognize the legitimacy of “the Jewish state” by them joining ‘the civic service’ to prove their loyalty. This way Israel becomes as it was meant to be “a Jewish state” for all the Jews of the world as its true citizens, while non-Jews (the Palestinian Muslims and Christians) can only reside, but without equal rights with the Israeli Jews.

The Israeli military establishment aims to conscript one Palestinian youth or more from each Palestinian family to make them part of a Jewish institutions with absolute loyalty to the flag of “the Jewish state”, thus eradicating any residual Arab cultural loyalty and sense of belonging to the Arab Palestinian identity. But that does not mean giving these Arab Palestinian conscripts equal rights with their Jewish comrade soldiers. The Arab Druze Israeli soldiers are the best example of a different standard of citizenship unequal in every measure with the Israeli Jewish soldiers in the very same military unit. Non-Jews, the original natives of Palestine, joining the Israeli military service do not obtain equal rights for equal service like in all democratic states in our world. Indeed Dr. Ibrahim Abu Jaber, the Director of the Center of Contemporary Studies in Israel affirms that “the Arab Druze who served in the Israeli army completed their military service (not civic service) without attaining equal rights as the Jews who served with them. The Druze life, after their military service is in extreme poverty when their Jewish comrades enjoy lavish gifts rendered by the state of Israel to insure them a prosperous future”.

It is no longer the case in Israel where Palestinians struggle to attain rights as equal citizens, but it has become a case of extreme struggle to attain the means for daily survival in which the dignity of the individual is being continuously eroded in a course of a very slow death. In reality, the Israeli ‘civic service’ is meant to treat the Palestinian Arabs not as the original natives but instead to make them adopt and accept “the Jewishness of the state” which they don’t belong to in any way, shape or manner. Abu Jaber summed it up in a few words: “the civic service is absolutely rejected in all its Zionist meanings because Palestinian human and civic rights are founded upon a historical and religious inheritance that is holy through and through that created a great civilization enjoyed by humankind for many centuries”.

The proposed Israeli civic service plan is meant to create ‘servants’ of young Palestinians, not citizens with equal rights and these ‘servants’ will be brainwashed to  form a cancerous growth in the body of the Palestinian community of 48, exactly like  ‘servants’ created by Nazis in the once occupied territories of Europe. In this light, the civic service project is only a first step towards military service in the Israeli army which is aimed to annihilate the Palestinian identity along with its human and civic rights. The Palestinians in the territories of 48 seem determined to double their effort to combat this Zionist attempt by enhancing the roles of their political parties stemming from the Palestinian civic society that holds the Palestinian national identity dear to its heart.

Negating the legitimacy of the Palestinians of 48 to drive them out of  their ancestral lands stands at the heart of the Zionist agenda that seeks to enslave Palestinians by a ‘Jewishness’ religious identity of Israel that consists of the original native Palestinians and immigrant Jews who started to descend on Palestine after world war one. The Palestinians of both, the 48 and 67 lands, have their own legitimate identity and inalienable rights that no ‘civic’ or military service can change.