Note: Reciprocity of Rights and Duties, Benefits and Burdens: National Service for Israeli Arabs

Law and Ethics of Human Rights 6 (2):247-258 (2012)

Daniel Statman
University of Haifa
Jews and Arabs in Israel often agree that there is a reciprocal relation between rights and duties, though they derive opposing conclusions from it. Jews infer that Arabs are not entitled to the same rights and privileges as Jews are, since they do not shoulder an equal share of the duties. Arabs, by contrast, argue that they are under no duty to share the burdens, particularly military or national service, since their rights are not fully respected. The Paper assesses these opposing claims and ends up rejecting both. It argues that the rights to which citizens are entitled do not depend on citizens carrying out all their social or legal duties, while the citizens’ duty to contribute to the welfare of their countries by national service or other means is generally not contingent on the countries’ fulfillment of its duties towards them. The Paper focuses on national service by Israeli Arabs and suggests that that there is nothing wrong in making such service mandatory though there are practical considerations against doing so and that making such service optional is an excellent alternative, one that should be encouraged as much as possible
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DOI 10.1515/1938-2545.1075
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