This is the Real IDF

by Phil Schneider

There are many young Arabs in Israel that are not anti-Israel. Not only are they pro-Israel, some of them actually serve in the Israel Armed Forces. Really? Yes, indeed. The Arabs in Israel are actually a diverse group of people – Christian, Muslim, and Druze Arabs often live together in one village. Some of the people serve together in the IDF. Today, there are Arabs who serve in some of the highest echelons of the Israel Defense Forces. Druze soldiers have been Generals in the Israeli Army too. Indeed, the Israeli Army is the true melting pot of the State of Israel.

The Israeli Army was not always a very unified group. Before the State of Israel, there were 3 illegal Jewish militias that set up in order to deal with the threats from the Arabs. It was the time of the British Mandate. That meant that the British Empire was temporarily the caretaker over a land that would ultimately become some other entity. Most people believe that the British Empire was hoping to hang on to control even after the British Mandate was set to end in 1948. However, the weak response from the British Empire to the Arab riots in 1929 and then in 1936-1939, led to the buildup of Jewish defense groups. First, the Haganah came up in order to defend the Jewish settlements from Arab marauders. Then, the Irgun Tzvai Leumi split off when they thought that the response to the Arabs from the Haganah was too weak. A few years later, during World War II, the Stern group rose up as a slit-off from the Irgun Tzvia Leumi in order to fight the British Empire during World War II. Until 1948, these three militias largely fought alone, except for a short period when they cooperated. However, in the end, they all played a rather important role in the defense of the emerging Jewish State. But in one of the first executive orders after the establishment of the State of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered that there be one unified Israel Defense Forces. To this day, the IDF is the Israeli melting pot that brings together Israeli citizens and volunteers from all over the world. Yes, even some Arabs in the State of Israel want to be part of this glorious Army.

Lag B'Omer

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