In a breaking story that represents perhaps a break though in the understanding of the brutality of the IDF and the illegality of the occupation of Palestine, the Washington Post has a story today about how a growing number of Israelis are avoiding the required military service, leaving the IDF with a troop shortage. Finally an American newspaper is highlighting those Israelis who do not approve of the violent actions of their army. Israelis are abandoning the IDF out of a sense of morality!
After reading the headline, “Israel confronts flagging interest in military service,” I thought perhaps WaPo was going to speak about those Israelis that avoid military service not out of fear of combat, but rather as a means of protesting the violent used in the occupation of Palestine and the discrimination against Israeli Arabs. And then I remembered what newspaper I was reading. The article started promisingly enough:
Now, the Israel Defense Forces’ position as the country’s most venerated institution appears to be slipping. While service is compulsory for most young men and women, a growing minority is avoiding conscription, leaving planners to worry the military won’t have the troops it says it needs.
[tweetmeme] But then the article began to discuss that the real problem behind the lack of active support for the IDF was simply the rising percentage of ultra-orthodox Jews who are exempt from military service. According to the paper, the IDF is losing 13% of potential draftees to religious exemption, compared to 4% a decade ago. The article quotes, among others, a military man living in an illegal settlement – Ma’aleh Adumim, outside of Jerusalem, a lifetime military man and a reservist in charge of recruitment who all speak about the prestige gained in Israeli society from military service and the failure of the IDF to maintain soldiers past the required service-time. Nowhere in the article does it mention the peace camp present in Israeli society and those who would rather teach or volunteer than participate in the increasing discrimination against Arabs, both within Israel and in occupied Palestine. Fortunately (I guess), the article does reveal how the military is growing more extremist and more attached to the Zionist occupation of Palestine:
The characteristics of those who do serve are changing in striking ways. Officers who are ideologically opposed to relinquishing Israeli control of the West Bank are taking on a more prominent role, potentially complicating any eventual Israeli withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the territory as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians… In the past, officers largely came from secular, elite families from the Tel Aviv area or the collective farms known as kibbutzim. But today, increasing numbers are observant Jews who tend to be more politically oriented, more committed to the Zionist cause and more integrated into society than the ultra-Orthodox. An Israeli military magazine, Ma’arachot, reported recently that one-third of those who complete officers’ courses come from this group, a roughly tenfold increase over a decade ago.
So, thanks to WaPo‘s unbiased, completely accurate reporting, the IDF is growing more attached to the illegal occupation and is predicting a shortage of soldiers needed to flaunt international law and suppress the Palestinians. Perhaps the shortage of soldiers has something to do with the amount of Israeli military power located in, you know, not Israel. Yet with the shift right in military thinking, the thought of reducing the self-imposed state of constant warfare is probably not heard much.
Photo from Chris; Jiftlik, Palestine; 2010