Meet the Muslim soldiers who fight for Israel

As many as 1,700 Muslim soldiers are currently fighting for Israel in an 'unbreakable blood pact'


News Desk December 23, 2015
Mohammad Ka'abiya, centre, poses with his weapon while serving in the Israel Defence Force (IDF) PHOTO: Mohammad Ka'abiya

As many as 1,700 Muslim soldiers are currently fighting for Israel as part of an alliance that dates back to the 20th century when Jews and Bedouin joined forces to protect the Jewish communities from their hostile Arab neighbours during the British Mandate.

Among the Muslim soldiers is 25-year-old Mohammad Ka’abiyah who became the first one from his clan to join the Air Force, where he served in a helicopter unit.

“If you told this story to people from Europe or the United States, or even other Arabs from the Middle East, they wouldn't believe it. But it's really a true situation,” Mohammad Ka’abiyah told Mail Online.

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Mohammad Ka'abiya, 25, says he is equally proud to be Bedouin, Arab, Muslim and Israeli PHOTO: Mohammad Ka'abiya

Although they are exempt from conscription, certain tribes are particularly patriotic towards Israel, and up to 10 per cent of Bedouin men choose to join the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) each year. To date, 363 Arabs have been killed in action while fighting for Israel.

“I am proud to be a Bedouin fighter. And I am also proud to fight in the Israeli army. I am proud of being Bedouin, Arab, Muslim and Israeli,” the 25-year-old said.

Mohammad Ka'abiya PHOTO: Mohammad Ka'abiya

When Israel was established in 1948, the Bedouin pledged their allegiance to the Jewish State and were granted full citizenship. Today, the Bedouin comprise about 2.5 per cent of Israel’s population. However, tension is rife in the community.

Ka'abiya stands next to the grave of a Bedouin Arab soldier who was killed while fighting for Israel PHOTO: Jake Wallis Simons

Speaking about a terrorist attack in October perpetrated by a Bedouin, Ka’abiyah, a political sciences student at Haifa University, said, “There are some extremists who are trying to divide us and turn us against Israel. The Bedouin community needs to come together and be strong. Otherwise it could be very bad.”

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The Bedouin have been fighting alongside Jewish forces since before Israel was established PHOTO: DAILY MAIL

Bedouins are mainly recruited as trackers, using their desert legacy to apprehend terrorists trying to infiltrate the country along Israel’s borders. However, they are viewed as traitors by most Palestinians.

Ka’abiya dismisses the criticism saying he and others like him fight against terror organisations. “I didn't fight against Arab people. I was fighting against terror organisations because I don't want the Arab people to be injured or killed," he said.

A Bedouin Arab Israeli soldier places his hand on the Quran as he swears allegiance to Israel PHOTO: Mohammad Ka’abiyah

“Arabs are victims of the terrorist organisations. Some people call us traitors, but Israel is a democracy where all cultures and colours have the same rights. The ones who refuse to serve are the real traitors,” he added.

The Bedouin’s history of fighting for Israel is long and some believe the traditional bond is secure.

Mohammad Ka'abiya, 25, is a Sunni Muslim who served in the IDF and is deeply patriotic PHOTO: Mohammad Ka'abiya

At his family home, the 25-year-old shows off a picture of his warrior grandfather, Rashid al-Ka’abi, posing alongside the renowned Jewish fighter Alexander Zaïd, who was killed by local Arabs in Palestine in 1938.

“The Bedouin and the Jews made a blood pact. It will never be broken.”

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Mohammad Ka'abiya shows off a picture of his warrior grandfather, Rashid al-Ka'abi, posing with the iconic Jewish fighter Alexander Zaïd PHOTO: DAILY MAIL

When asked whether he is concerned that telling his story may get him into trouble, he laughed.

“I am a Bedouin fighter. I don't care and don't worry,” he said.

This article originally appeared on Daily Mail.

COMMENTS (21)

sterry | 5 years ago | Reply @vinsin: There are lots of Muslims fighting for Israel and they are proud citizens of Israel. Likewise there are lots of Muslim soldiers in the Indian armed forces and they are proud citizens of India. There is nothing surprising about this. Lots of Muslims outside Israel buy Israeli products and watch Israeli films. Lots of Muslims outside of India watch Indian movies and buy Indian products. It's a free world. It is hypocritical to point fingers.
Sankar aiyer | 5 years ago | Reply I have seen that Muslims are quite patriotic to the country of their birth/ domicile. I have personally served the Indian armed forces and can certify that their patriotism, Valor and heroism for India is no less than a Hindu or any other religious sect. after retirement I was in U.K. for sometime my son served England and let me confirm with my full conscience that the Muslim colleagues of his were equally patriotic to her majesty. So this article demonstrates my view. It is time that the world realizes the true Muslim.
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