Israeli citizenship

In identification documents issued to citizens Israel makes a distinction between citizenship and nationality.

All Israelis enjoy Israeli citizenship, but their nationality may be:

  • Jewish,
  • Druze,
  • Circassian,
  • Beduin,
  • or Arab

This has a variety of implications, regarding military service, access to education, housing, etc.

As to military service, it is:

  • compulsory for both men and women of Jewish nationality,
  • compulsory for men of Druze or Circassian nationality,
  • permitted on a voluntary basis for men of Beduin nationality,
  • prohibited for anyone of Arab nationality. However, the latter can, subject to a preliminary interview, if they wish, join a professional unit on a voluntary basis .

Military service has all sorts of implications in other areas: for example, higher education is free of tuition for those who have performed their military service, which means that Israeli citizens of Arab nationality will always have to pay for it, unlike other Israelis.