(REUTERS) – A battalion of soldiers crawls across the desert sand with assault rifles cocked. It’s a routine exercise, but these are no ordinary troops – they are Arabs who have chosen to fight for the Jewish state.
While the vast majority of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are Jews – and nearly all their conflicts have been against Arab nations – a trickle of Israeli Arabs volunteer for the army.
Most are Bedouin, a community native to southern Israel. But some are other Arab citizens of Israel, the descendants of Palestinians who remained during the 1948 war of the state’s founding, when hundreds of thousands of their brethren fled or were forced from their homes by advancing Israeli troops.
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