Identity, Israel, Politics

Indicting The Jewish Army, The Jewish People, Whatever.

Its just depressing.
It's just depressing.
With Yetzias Mitzrayim fading from our minds and the bread afflicting our bowels, Haaretz pulls out the big guns. This Pesach, the newspaper embeds a skeptical, British-Israeli journalist as the IDF Lone Soldier Seder. What a fresh indictment.
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.
Full Story.

13 thoughts on “Indicting The Jewish Army, The Jewish People, Whatever.

  1. Didn’t the person who designed the logo know that that is exactly how an eagle catches small prey?

  2. Amit: By “foreigners” do you mean those who have not taken Israeli citizenship and who serve in the IDF (do these exist?)? Or by “foreigner” do you mean olim who didn’t have the good fortune to be born in Israel (ahhh, the privelege…)?
    And if we’re talking olim, how long would one have to live in Israel before they are Israeli enough (for you) to serve in the IDF? Should immigrants be allowed to hold office? Or even vote?
    Should all Arab Israelis be drafted? Nat’l service?
    Should the US (to select another multiethnic country at random) refuse entry of the foreign-born into its ranks?
    Just curious.

  3. Do they exist? YES, absolutely!! I even know some of them off hand. They go to Israel without filing aliyah papers to serve a stint in the IDF, and come back bragging about their service to a foreign country. You’d think they’d stay behind to integrate themselves into the country they fought for.
    Many non-citizens serve in the U.S. Army, believing they’d get citizenship. Some never do, and end up being deported for drug busts after serving this country. Ironic.
    Besides, I believe Arab Israelis should be drafted, if only for purposes of integration.

  4. 1. Israel is not a multiethnic country. At least by its own definitions, it is a monoethnic country made up mostly and foremostly by members of the “Jewish People”.
    2. It’s not a matter of privilege, but a matter of responsibility. You can and may be drafted into the Israeli army without Israeli citizenship, but coming to Israel simply to serve in the army is a terrible idea. FIRST you become a citizen, THEN you join the army. Not the other way around. People will start getting the idea that civil rights are contingent on military service.
    3. BBN – If you believe Arab ISraelis should be drafted, maybe you should also believe that the wars fought should in some way not be opposed to the interests of 20% of the population in the country.

  5. Amit, Israel is multiethnic whether it wants to be or not. It’s a fact. And I agree that only citizens or those seeking citizenship should serve in the IDF.
    Re: Arabs, I think ALL Arab Israelis should be drafted (just as all Jews should be — and aren’t), but should have the option of doing national service instead (in their own communities or otherwise), just as Jews should have the same option.

  6. Fine – but you can only draft everyone when there is a general consensus about the wars that should be fought.

  7. Fine – but you can only draft everyone when there is a general consensus about the wars that should be fought.
    This sounds more like your opinion than law. Wars are fought all the time without consensus.

  8. lol I’m not aware of any army in the world that operates like that dude. it’s a draft; you show up or you go to jail.
    but I’m obviously sensitive to the idea that many Arab Israelis are particularly loathe to take part in some of the operations and campaigns undertaken by the IDF. for that reason I view national service as an acceptable alternative. but the Jews also need to do one or the other.

  9. >>3. BBN – If you believe Arab ISraelis should be drafted, maybe you should also believe that the wars fought should in some way not be opposed to the interests of 20% of the population in the country.

    I guess Israel could launch an invasion of North Korea or Pakistan but somehow….I’m not sure those campaigns present the strongest strategic rationale or cost-benefit tradeoff. I guess there’s always Cyprus in a pinch.
    Of course it might just be easier for Israel’s Arab neighbors to quit attacking it.
    Also interesting that Israeli Arabs consider Arab attacks against Israel to be in their “interests”…

  10. such a great article.
    so many kids from my youth group came here, did aliyah, joined up, killed some Palestinians, posted pictures on facebook, and went back to the states…I often wonder when then day will come that I’m on the business end of their sights.

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