Arabs Are Prominent in Israel’s Government
They’re parliamentarians, judges, diplomats, and generals.

Knesset member Issawi Frej. (Photo: Amit Zinman)


Deroy Murdock

Arabs excel in Israel’s military, some even as generals. Lieutenant Colonel Magdi Mazarib is an Islamic member of Israel’s 260,000-strong Bedouin Arab minority. He also is the Israel Defense Force’s top-ranking tracker. Many of the IDF’s 1,655 Bedouins use their nomadic skills to detect infiltrators along Israel’s borders, especially in the north. They can inspect rocks and sand and determine where and when a foe has trespassed.

“This is our country,” Mazarib told Agence France-Presse last April. He added that he does not fear the Star of David on Israel’s banner, despite being Muslim. “The flag of England also has a cross on it, and the Jews are fine with it,” Mazarib said at a memorial site for the 182 Bedouin soldiers who have died fighting for Israel.

What about the back of this shekel? Bahrain’s Jewish population numbers only 38, but three of them serve in parliament. Houda Nonoo, a Jewish woman, announced Thursday that she is finishing her term as that Persian Gulf state’s ambassador to America. Also, Serge Berdugo is Morocco’s Jewish minister of tourism. Still, Jewish officials in the Arab world are rarer than menorahs in Mecca.

Though Israel’s Jews and Arabs clash, they also cooperate far more than most journalists admit. In his Ramadan greetings last July, Prime Minister Netanyahu described his country’s Muslim citizens as an “integral part of Israeli society.” He also said he attaches ”great importance” to their “role and contribution to the economy and in all aspects of life in Israel.”

As if to illustrate Netanyahu’s warm words, Issawi Frej nods his head just to his left at his Knesset spokesman, a recovering newsman named Moran Richman. “I am Israeli,” Frej says. “Moran, he is Jewish, and he is Israeli. Both of us are Israeli. This country should include both of us, and both of us should take care of this country.”

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Murdock visited Israel last summer on a media tour sponsored by the Manhattan-based America-Israel Friendship League.