Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military

By Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh | Go to book overview

5
Military Ethnification

SOON AFTER THE FIRST MINORITIES UNIT was established in the Israeli military, a deadly fight broke out between the unit's Druze and Bedouin soldiers. Military authorities attributed this clash, known as the Nesher Incident, to preexisting animosity between the Druze and Bedouins. However, the fighting reportedly broke out as a result of disagreements over guard duty and leave rotations—these were formally divided and organized by the military along Druze-versus-Bedouin lines. According to one of the soldiers involved: “Who is it that stirred up the Druze? The Jews promoted sedition among us.”1 Druze and Bedouins were then placed in separate units.

The recruitment of Arabs into the Israeli military does not aim simply at adding their strength to the ranks. Beyond “military utility,” their selective recruitment fits well with the policy of dividing and subdividing the Arab population.2 This segmentation is also practiced within the ranks. Categorization as Bedouin, Druze, Muslim, or Christian (versus Jewish) is paramount within the so-called melting pot of the Israeli military. A sign on the door of the Bedouin recruitment center in Bir al-Sabiʿ states that enlistment “strengthens the identification between the Bedouin sector and the state/IDF.” This sectoral view of soldiers and citizens informs unit structure, assignments, promotions, and benefits in the military.

-51-

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Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures ii
  • Surrounded - Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military iii
  • Contents vii
  • 1: Israel's Arabs 1
  • 2: Embattled Identities 9
  • 3: Conditional Citizenship 27
  • 4: Material Upgrade 35
  • 5: Military Ethnification 51
  • 6: The Limits of Being a Good Arab 61
  • 7: Broken Promises 69
  • 8: Boys or Men? Duped or “made”? 79
  • 9: Blood in the Same Mud 91
  • Afterword - Unsettling Methods 113
  • Reference Matter 127
  • Acknowledgments 129
  • Notes 133
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 203
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