Anshel Pfeffer reports
Is the IDF becoming the Diaspora’s foreign legion? Has toting an M-16 and patrolling the back roads of the West Bank become more popular for Jewish teenagers than taking a year off before college to go and pick oranges on a kibbutz?
During the years I lived in Israel, I often crossed paths with American-born members of the IDF, who had moved to Israel out of adrenal Zionism and commitment to clutching a gun for the State of Israel.
But what does it say about Israel when a growing number of young Jews abroad identify it today solely with the IDF. For them it seems that immigrating isn’t about joining a society, with all its benefits and duties, but simply wearing a uniform and learning how to kill.
Programs like Birthright have tried to capitalize on this identification. Every busload of birthrighters is joined by a group of soldiers who accompany them throughout their visit. It adds sex-appeal to the program and gives the IDF an opportunity to boost its credentials as the defenders of the entire Jewish nation.
The army’s generals are simply jumping on a good opportunity from their point of view, but this is still a worrisome trend. In an age when over 90 percent of the Diaspora is concentrated in the West, the fact that the most potent image Israel can market to young Jews is its army is a sign of failure for Israeli society in general.
OHHHHHH. He killed it right there.