Arab lawmakers criticise Israel over enlisting more Christians

Jerusalem, April 23: Arab lawmakers Tuesday criticised Israel’s plans to raise the number of Christian conscripts for the Israeli army, calling it a divisive policy for the Arab community in the country.

The remarks came after the Israeli Army Radio revealed Tuesday that voluntary conscription notices will be sent to all Christian Arabs of enlistment age in the coming days, instructing them to report to recruitment stations for preliminary screening, Xinhua reported.

Basel Ghattas of the Balad party told the radio station that his party is staunchly against the move, while urging all young Arabs to protest the conscription notices by mailing them back or burning them.

The conscription of Christian Arabs has become a flash point for frictions and parliamentary feuds as the number of those who volunteer for service has steadily risen in recent years.

Currently, those who enlist voluntarily face bureaucratic hurdles. According to Army Radio, while an average of 40-50 men enlisted each year in the past, the figure has doubled this year.