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President Rivlin addresses memorial event for Israeli Bedouin security personnel Photo by Kobi Gideon (GPO)
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President Rivlin addresses memorial event for Israeli Bedouin security personnel

06 September 2016

President Rivlin addresses memorial event for Israeli Bedouin security personnel

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson) 



President Rivlin: “We must find away not only to fight side by side, but to live side by side.”


“The covenant that bonds us is ‘life’.”


President Reuven Rivlin this evening (Tuesday), delivered an address and laid a wreath at an official event in recognition of the security forces personnel from Israel’s Bedouin community. The event was attended by senior military officials and members and leaders of the Bedouin community, including IDF servicemen, veterans, their families, and representatives of bereaved families.


“For us, this memorial symbolizes much pain and longing,” said the President. “The number of fallen IDF and security personnel from the Bedouin community has grown over the years, and it seems there is not a household that has not felt the pain of this loss.” The President went on to speak about the bravery of Bedouin soldiers who had fought and fallen in Israel’s War of Independence, and noted these were just, “one example in many, of the brotherhood between the Jewish and Bedouin communities in Israel. The President added this was, “an age-old bond forged in the days even before the establishment of the State of Israel. The covenant between us, between the Jewish and Bedouin societies in Israel, is a deep and solid bond, rooted in the Bedouin community’s preservation of its own distinct characteristics and unique identity.” He noted that the fallen Bedouin soldiers of the IDF, “were killed because they were Israeli soldiers, and at the same time part of the Bedouin community, regardless of their having kept religiously the tenants of Islam but because of their making and alliance with Jews. This is not a dual identity, it is a single identity, deep and special – Israeli Bedouin.”


The President noted that, “these are not simple times in the relationship between the Bedouin community and the State of Israel of which it is such a crucial part. Especially here, surrounded by my brothers and sisters, it is important for me to urge the Bedouin community’s youth to continue the tradition and to enlist in the IDF, the security forces, the police, and the rescue services. The IDF belongs to all of us, and the IDF needs you. I know that the IDF is allocating resources to support the recruitment and integration of the Bedouin community into Israeli society, out of a clear understanding that integrating the Bedouin youth into wider Israeli society is a national challenge and priority. At the same time I know that IDF recruitment brings to the surface deeper tensions between Bedouin society and the institutions of the State of Israel.”


He added, “It would be tragedy for generations if the trust between us were to crack, and this must not happen. We must find a way not just to fight side by side, but to live side by side. The Israeli people want and need to welcome the wonderful Bedouin community, on and off the battle field. The covenant between out societies and the deep partnership between us is essential for the future of the State of Israel. We must be sure that the State invests in housing, in education, in welfare, in healthcare, in access to infrastructure, and in all aspects of the daily lives of the Bedouin community, and to allow the Bedouin youth to flourish here in their homeland. Today, as we salute the Bedouin soldiers of the IDF, the police, and all the security and rescue services we must be sure to remember: the covenant that bonds us is ‘life’. And when we remember this covenant of life, and express it in practice, the trust will grow, and the hope for our shared future will grow for all of us.”


He concluded, “May the memory of the fallen Bedouin soldiers be blessed, and may their legacy – the legacy of brotherhood in Israel – be inscribed on our hearts forever.”