In Israel, Israelis of all faiths may serve their nation. And now, reports The Jerusalem Post's Lahav Harkov, the Israeli parliament has approved a bill that fights incitement against Christians who choose to serve in the IDF:
A bill increasing the punishment for incitement against volunteering in the IDF or security forces passed a preliminary reading Wednesday.
MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) proposed the legislation in response to increased volunteer IDF service by Christian Israelis, who are not required to enlist, which he said has been coupled with a rise in incitement against them.
The bill makes the penalty for inciting not to volunteer in the IDF equal to that of someone who incites or lobbies against doing mandatory IDF service, five years.
Kisch said his bill will bring different parts of the population closer to each other and to the state.
“We must strengthen and welcome those who want to take part, and at the same time, fight with all our might against those who are inciting against this process,” he said, presenting the bill to the plenum.
Israel Christian Recruitment Forum chairman Father Gabriel Nadaf said increased Christian enlistment in the IDF is a “historic process of integration in Israeli society,” but that Christian IDF recruits are not equal to others by law, because incitement against them is not punishable, and the situation must be changed.
“Since I started my activism and founded the Israel Christian Recruitment Forum, which raised the number of Christians enlisting in the army and national service, incitement against candidates for enlistment, soldiers, their families and me has not stopped and in some cases has ended in physical violence,” Nadaf recounted.
Nadaf praised the bill, calling it a warning sign to those inciting against Christian and other minority soldiers who chose to serve in the IDF.