Monday, December 31, 2007

IDF Soldiers

The New York Times has an article about the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces. Considering that it was written for Americans, it could be worse, but of course it could also be better.

It's funny that only in very recent years, there's talk about the changes which have been going on for twenty years or more. I guess it's because the media here is so Left wing.

The percentage of army officers from religious backgrounds isn't new, but it has become harder for the army to hide it. There used to be a high percentage of kibbutz-raised officers, at leas that's what we've been led to believe. Considering the percentage of the population on kibbutzim, I doubt if they ever really dominated the army the way the establishment wants us the think.

Over twenty years ago, during the "first" Lebanon War, some of us began to notice that an unusually high percentage of "casualties," the dead and wounded were from the hesder yeshiva units, or just religious guys in the army. I hate to think that they were considered "cannon fodder." A bit later, we began hearing that the majority of soldiers in the officers courses were either with crocheted (they can't be knitted) kippot or had been raised with them and stopped being religious. It took a long time for this embarrassing information to leak out.

You have to be blind not the notice all of the proud religious parents at the various army ceremonies, and the la hefech (the opposite) mood at homes of dead soldiers. Also, medals of courage were awarded to yeshiva students. I wouldn't be surprised if the percentage of YESHA and religious kids in the elite units is much higher than the kibbutz ever reached.

The army is scared. It knows that its best soldiers can be pushed only "so far."

Disengagement was "bad" and Amona was "worse." Our soldiers, our sons, aren't comfortable with the Nazi German soldiers' excuse that they were "just obeying orders." We trust our soldiers more than we trust our politicians.


Anonymous said...

Are we supposed to be proud of serving in the army? Are we making it into a specific ideal in itself?

I heard a story told by Rav Shmuel Eliyahu (I believe). He told us of a discussion with a rosh yeshiva in which he says that his pre-army students seemed more excited during a visit by an officer from an elite unit decorated with pins and a souped up m16 than a visiting well known talmid chacham.

Elazar Stern seems to make controversial remarks that are construed by most (and me) to be 'anti-religious', though his ideas of sending yeshiva students to be jobniks and spreading them around rather than keeping them in seperate units has merits as well.

Batya said...

josh, I'm just going to try to answer your basic question and not deal with all of your detailed points. In a sense those are answered IMHO at the end of this:

Our Jewish soldiers should be in the army to observe the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh and keeping Eretz Yisrael safe and Jewish.

That's what every one of our soldiers must be focused on, and then it's totally a mitzvah, a mitzvah to be proud of. If the army punishes the good Jewish soldier, it has to be seen as among the "trials/challenges" of living a proper Torah life.

A high percentage of today's front-line soldiers and officers were raised in Torah homes. G-d willing they'll be more loyal to G-d than to the politicians.