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The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » Military Recruiter in Ha’aretz: “Draft Dodgers Bring Crime.”

Military Recruiter in Ha’aretz: “Draft Dodgers Bring Crime.”

Nice to know that both military recruiters and motivational speakers are horrifying the world over. This article shows the techniques Yom Kippur War hero General Avigdor Kahalani uses to deepen young people’s knowledge of the region’s military history and to motivate them.”

First up, sexism!

You know those girls who go around saying they’re religious like that singer with her boobs hanging out? If you pretend you’re religious, I’ll take one of you and deal with her personally.”

Good illustration of how military service can give you all kinds of pent-up aggression to take out in the women in your life. But what about the men who don’t have aggression towards women?

There are boys who are in love with their mothers. How do I know this? They ask to serve [in the army] close to home.”

Take that, mamma’s boys! Real men serve as far from home as possible, preferably on someone else’s land! Say, how do the people living in the land in question feel about Israelis?

I was an MK, I met with [Yasser] Arafat, I hosted Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] in my home, I did a lot of things for peace. I tell you, the hatred for us cannot be bridged. Peace can be made if tomorrow we all move to New York. Nobody will take us in there anyhow. We can’t stop protecting ourselves. We have no other country.”

Neither do Palestinians. And I can certainly sympathize with people disliking Kahalani, to say nothing of disliking being Occupied. But do how do Kahalani’s own countrymen, and more importantly countrywomen, feel about him?

The citizens of this country are like someone swimming in the ocean. You can’t stop swimming and struggling. You know that guy Jacko [Eisenberg], from ‘A Star is Born’? The one who all the girls pull their hair out for when they see him? What about me? Why don’t people pull their hair out for me? When he was selected, all the newspapers interviewed him. He won’t give his skinny bottom. I thought I was going to kill him.”

Jacko Eisenberg’s quote that so inflamed Kahalani:

I didn’t enlist because I am incapable of holding a rifle, I did not vote in the elections. It wasn’t worth it for me to move my little ass. For whom? Who’s here?”

Kahalani, that’s who!  Which bring us to his real target, the people who don’t like serving in his military at all!

It is unacceptable for someone not to serve in the IDF! Those who don’t serve take advantage of us! Those who don’t serve won’t pay taxes, they’ll bring crime, drugs – don’t accept them! Cast them out!”

He need not worry, draft resisters face all sorts of social exclusion and loss of job opportunities, as well as jail time. To say nothing of the lost opportunities to obtain drugs from fellow soldiers, a staple of most militaries. Though who knew they got out of paying taxes as well? But why would they risk all that, when they have..a really pretty flag!

I want to give you a gift,” the reserves brigadier general told his young listeners, while holding a large Israeli flag. “I want to give you this flag. The whole world has flags. But they’re ugly. Red, black, green. Who has a flag with a Star of David on it? Who has one that is blue and white?”

Well, Argentina! But yes, Israel’s is the only one with a Star of David with it.

Pointing to the nearby monument to the 77th Brigade, he said, “the fighters were there because the flag has to be protected. The day that the AWOL and the absent soldier are the kings of the neighborhood – the state will be gone on that day. Can I trust this flag to you?”

Ok, we seem to have covered racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. But surely this speaker was a fluke, a one-off, reaching only a small audience?

He gives his motivational lecture five times on the day the program takes place, repeating the lecture each time. The teenagers tour battle sites, meet combat soldiers, watch a live-fire exercise and other activities. So far, some 180,000 12th-graders have taken part in the program.”

But is he sorry now that the remarks have become public?

Kahalani confirmed to Haaretz that he made the statements attributed to him. “I don’t take back anything. I didn’t say I’d kill Jacko, but it made my blood boil. The goal of the program is to raise the teens’ motivation. You have to keep ‘pumping’ the motivation. The kids have to understand their national responsibility. That is the embodiment of Zionism. There are kids who come up to me and say they changed their mind about not serving. Teachers come to me crying, their hands shaking, saying they didn’t know the children love the flag so much.”

If you are as disturbed by this as I am, I hope you will join Jewish Voice for Peace in supporting the Shministim, high school students who resist military service. This speech shows both the harsh climate of hatred they face for their actions, and the fact that their resistance is making a difference if people like Kahalani are worried about it. You can read about the latest resister, Emelia Marcovich, in our earlier post.

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JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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