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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pigs fly: Haaretz op-ed calls for volunteer army

I'm amazed to see an op-ed in Haaretz that admits the truth: All the rhetoric about everyone doing their 'fair share' is really about the IDF being a melting pot that make the Haredim like everyone else, and not about the IDF's military needs.
But who is talking about "melting" the Arabs into the pot of Israeli society anyhow? Instead, the discussion now focuses on "equally sharing the burden." The demand to "equally share the burden" sounds better and is not as threatening as "melting pot," which could create a toxic alloy of Arabs who resemble Jews. It seems like a blanket under which all citizens can cuddle, feeling not only that they are equal in their obligations, but as a bonus, they can also have the "Israeli experience" of blending. In such a society, the majority recognizes the inherent differences between itself and its minorities, all the more so when that society contributes significantly to the differentiation of those minorities.

What is true for the Arabs is true for the ultra-Orthodox. The difference between them is the way the Israeli-Jewish consensus treats them. Jewish society in Israel is willing to suffer and even to support the non-service of the Arabs in the army, while the refusal of Haredim is perceived as treason and a sin against citizenship. Because it is "natural" when an Arab does not want to protect a Jew, but intolerable when a Jew refuses to protect a Jew. We may, therefore, also suspect that the "concession" to the Arabs with regard to military service stems not only from their branding as a fifth column, a local branch of the Arab enemy, but also because of the way they strengthen the sense of Jewish unity in Israel.

This contains an even more prickly paradox: The people who demand that the Arabs be left alone magnify and perpetuate their differentiation, while the people who demand that they be included in the law mandating obligatory military service might run into a wall of hostility that feeds the differentiation even more. In both cases, the cost of sharing the burden equally is intolerable.

This paradox can be overcome in two ways. Instead of talking about sharing the burden equally, or "national civilian service," it would be better to adopt the term "civil solidarity." This is not a semantic trick. It is about moving the focus of the argument against the Arabs from "lack of loyalty to the state" to the demand for partnership among citizens. But this fundamental shift will come with a shift in understanding of the character and essence of the army. This is a change that does not involve the Arabs; it involves the Jews. It requires the establishment of a professional army whose prestige depends on its ability to face external threats and not its skills as a social or educational agent. It is an army that carefully filters into its ranks and its payroll those who are worthy and needed, and is not a pot in which citizens are melted into a collective identity.
Read it all.

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At 2:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'm on the Right and I favor the abolition of the draft.

Israel's politicians are trying to fit a square into a peg. When pigs can fly!

The Plesner report is not going to pass the Knesset because no one apart from half of Kadima is going to vote for it.

Shaul Mofaz's threat to leave the coalition is an empty one and he knows it. In the end, Kadima is going to go along with whatever the coalition wants, both for the sake of political expediency and its own survival as a party.


At 4:36 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

The draft also caused a huge political distortion in the U.S. in the '60s/'70s and it allowed huge influence grabs by the people who are now fulfilling their Marcuse dream of bringing down the U.S. constitutional republic system from the inside.

I have always wondered how the IDF can operate with a second chain of command for any of their members. I personally see military service as part of the mizvah of saving lives. And therefore, (and obviously I'm only a spreader of darkness who can't keep my opinions to myself) maybe the haradim would encourage their community to volunteer for IDF service and would let them know that they need to follow their IDF commanders for the duration of their service and then leave them alone to do it. As part of the mitzvah of saving lives. Anybody (including in the U.S.) who is associated with these military organizations knows that some amount of what they do doesn't seem to make sense, but following the chain of command, even in those cases, is the only way to even have a military. Because I don't know about the haradim, but I do know about the military. And I think the haradim have a lot to bring to the effort.


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