(Times of Israel) An eclectic assembly of government officials, Christian clerics and young soldiers gathered in the town of Yafia near Nazareth in mid-June to toast their tightening cooperation with the Israeli military establishment.

The organization that hosted the gathering, The Forum for Drafting the Christian Community, was launched in October 2012 by a number of mid-ranking officers, mostly belonging to the Maronite denomination. In its Facebook page, the group defined itself as “Christian Israelis who speak Arabic.”

Regardless of religion, for Israeli Arabs — who are exempted by law from military service — deciding to join the IDF is very much a taboo. But for the Christian minority within Arab society, shaken by the Arab Spring and its Islamist undercurrents, that reality is beginning to change, though most of the soldiers in active service remove their uniform before coming home on leave.

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