Several Israeli-based organizations, on Wednesday, condemned a new campaign to recruit Palestinian Christian citizens of the country to serve in the military.In a joint statement, more than 15 Palestinian youth movements and community organizations said the Israeli move was an effort to divide Palestinian citizens of Israel from their own people.

The groups said they would ‘struggle against (the campaign for) enlistment in the Israeli army’ to ensure that such divisions would not occur.

The statement comes a day after army radio reported that Israel would adopt a new policy of actively recruiting Christians, Ma’an reports.

In a related vein, according to a recent report by the Middle East Monitor, the Israeli army detains nearly 22,000 deserters and ‘undisciplined soldiers’ annually, Haaretz newspaper revealed on Sunday. The paper said that nearly 13,000 of the soldiers are detained in army prisons while the rest are held inside military bases.

The paper quoted data from the military police, revealing that around 400 escape attempts, rebellions and acts of violence occur inside army prisons each year. At least 13,452 soldiers were detained in 2013; 76 per cent of them were charged with evading military service, while 18 per cent were soldiers classified as ‘undisciplined’ and 6 per cent had committed criminal offenses.

In February, parliament approved a law giving Muslim and Christian Palestinians separate representation on a national employment commission, drawing fire from Palestinian MKs.

Israel’s Palestinian community, which makes up some 20 percent of the population, are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land after the majority of the Palestinian population was forcibly displaced by Jewish militias during the creation of Israel in 1948.