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WATCH: From Holocaust to revival – shaping the IDF's future conscripts

Militaristic discourse, speech and codes of behavior do not start and end with military service. Preparation for military service in Israel is structured into the education system and begins in kindergarten. The preparation gradually grows as children approach the age of mandatory army enlistment by way of school curricula and even deliberate annual trips. The culmination of the process is the journey 17-year-olds take to death camps in Poland.

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    1. Danny

      Interesting piece on Israeli militarism. The close relationship between the education ministry and the army (especially during the last gov’t) practically ensures that motivation among 17 and 18 year olds is kept high. The thing that seals the deal for most of these youngsters is of course the (free) trip to Auschwitz.

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    2. To link two posts appearing this day (this one and that by Yesh Din), how can young soldiers be systematically reprimanded for abuses when all mature within an educational ethic of potential sacrifice during war? For a fellow soldier to expose an abuse is to violate the ethic of shared sacrifice and solidarity. One 972 report showed a sharpshooter pushed aside by another after firing and maiming a Palestinian teen. Right and wrong do exist, but are weighed down by perceived perpetual war; how many soldiers think they will not be informally punished for violating the solidarity ethic against “moral” reporting?

      The German Reich used this solidarity ethic as well. It is a powerful and dangerous human tool, used somewhat in every military. The lesson of Germany is that that tool is in all of us, waiting to be unleashed. I see in the Bank an opportunity to reframe occupation from war to policing action. In doing so, the solidarity ethic ceases to apply in full. Policing the police reintroduces some humanity into the opponent (not using “enemy” deliberately).

      The death of others, of my ancestors or nation, does not provide blood merit for my abuses. Without this principle, how can there be a different future?

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    3. rsgengland

      The easiest way to reduce the position of the military in Israeli life, is for there to be an outbreak of peace.
      The palestinians need elections to vote for a government, which is current, and which has a clear and explicit mandate.
      And then all sides (having their citizens backing) need to sit down and negotiate for real.

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      • I recall Sari Nusseibeh suggesting a same day plebiscite in both Israel and the PA (including Gaza) asking the simple question “Should peace talks begin?” If a yes in both areas, they then begin, probably with magical American oversight.

        As to Palestinian elections, I do not know if nationalism can reunite Gaza and the Bank, or if a truly partitioned State (forgetting about bantus) can survive the first difficult years, when there would undoubtedly be opposition to a peace. After all, the major present organizational alternative to Fatah, Hamas, is black listed by both Israel and the US. The years have produced structural barriers making an integrated Palestinian State difficult, maybe doubtful. History has caught up with us.

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