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BBC: Bedouin Who Serve in Israel's Army

Author: Rachid Sekkai
October 20, 2009

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Rachid Sekkai reports on the experiences of Non-Jews in Israel's army, and proves that the traditional image of the Arab-Israeli conflict as one of Jews fighting Muslims is not always accurate.

The traditional view of the Arab-Israeli conflict is of Jews fighting Muslims. But that image does not always reflect the truth.

In fact, there are thousands of Muslim Bedouin who serve in the Israeli army, or IDF, and even bear arms against their fellow Muslims in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

They do so although it is not compulsory for them to serve in the Israeli military, as it is for most Israeli Jews, and sometimes military service comes with a price tag.

"I will do whatever is required from me to do the job with the full faith in the service of the Israeli state," asserts Maj Fehd Fallah, a Bedouin from the village of Saad in the Israeli occupied Golan.

He is happy to perform his duty, whoever he may have to fight against.

"Yes, I have fought against Muslims in Gaza," he says. That includes Israel's three-week Operation Cast Lead which began in December last year.

"And I would fight again if I had to," he added. "Israeli Muslims who don't serve in the IDF should be ashamed for not serving their country."

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