(photo: emaze.com) 

(photo: emaze.com) 

By Jonathan Elkhoury - January 4, 2016

Originally appeared here in Arutz Sheva

Israel has many minorities that over the years have become unseparated parts of Israeli society, such as the Druze people - around 122,000, Christians-around 123,000, Muslims - over 1,200,000, the Bahai people around 700, Bedouins around 250,000 and more.

I belong to one of the smallest minorities in Israel, the refugees from the SLA (South Lebanese Army).Those are former soldiers and their families (around 700 families) who were supported by Israel during the South Lebanon conflict, to fight against the PLO and Hezbollah in 1982 until 2000.

After the decision of the Israeli government to leave the south of Lebanon on May 23rd 2000, SLA people were given the choice to flee to Israel and get asylum. My father left Lebanon that day and my mother, my brother and I followed him on August 28 2001. At the beginning the Israeli government arranged motels, hotels and holiday villages for the families for a year and a half. During that year they sent the children to special schools so they could learn Hebrew and continue their studies in school and the grownups were sent to Ulpan for Hebrew studies. Also each family received a small amount of money every month.

After we grew up and finished school with full diplomas, had learnt to speak Hebrew fluently, as children of SLA’s we were given the choice to join the army. Some of us joined it or the national service, like my brother and I, as we wanted to feel like regular Israeli citizens and do our civil obligations. Read More