Israel Considering Pre-Military Academy for Muslim IDF Volunteers

Israeli Merkava tanks roll near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip as they return from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian coastal enclave on August 5, 2014, after Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reports: Efforts are currently underway, with the cooperation of the Defense Ministry, to create the first pre-military academy for Muslim volunteers to the IDF.

Last month Deputy-Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan held a meeting in the IDF headquarters at the Kiryia in Tel Aviv with Anat Hasahiye, an activist for Muslim IDF enlistment who has advanced the new pre-military academy project, to discuss the issue.

The Security and Society Department of the Defense Ministry and its director Amikam Siberski has agreed in principal to the proposal, and the academy will be able to start its first year with 15 students.

Sources involved in the meeting emphasized however that the most difficult obstacle facing the new academy was enlisting recruits for it, and should the 15 spots not be filled the opening of the institution would be postponed.

Several youths have already applied, but they since Muslims are not included in compulsory conscription the are required to pass specific Defense Ministry procedures before being drafted. If the requisite number of volunteers are found and approved, the academy could begin operations as early as this autumn.

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