An education system that brings an inherently violent organization in through the front door is failing at its most basic obligation. This policy is the first injection of militarism, ultimately meant to prevent our children from becoming critical citizens.
Ten years ago, when my oldest daughter was five years old, I already had the honor of being the mother of a draft refuser.
One day, when she was in kindergarten, my young daughter came home with a notice from the kindergarten teacher asking parents to help their children prepare care packages for a soldier. The notice included a list of suggested items, and requested that the package include a drawing and letter from the child to the soldier.
I immediately called the kindergarten teacher and asked her if she didn’t think that four- and five-year-old children were a bit too young to be drafted into the Home Front Command. “What do you mean,” she responded, “It’s the most basic civic act!”
This powerpoint presentation is a version of an exhibition, built by New Profile, which highlights the everyday militarism of Israeli society. The exhibition is also available in Arabic and French. You can download the powerpoint here.
Photo: An Israeli boy wearing a military vest throws a mock grenade during a traditional military weapon display to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s “independence” at the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on 6 May 2014. (Gali Tibbongali / AFP)
On 6 May, Israelis celebrated their “independence day,” which they mark according to the Jewish lunar calendar.
Traditionally Israeli Jews hold public celebrations and picnics, especially in “national parks” typically built over the ruins of ethnically cleansed and destroyed Palestinian villages.
From children's shows to national war drills, a discussion on militarism in Israeli society and gender equality in the army.
On Wednesday, June 22nd, Israel held the largest war exercise in its history. The Real News' Lia Tarachansky interviewed Rela Mazali, the founder of New Profile, an organization working to demilitarize Israeli society, and Alex Cohn, a war resister who served five months for objecting to serve in the army. Cohn analyses a children's show that portrays a typical interaction between soldiers and Israeli children as part
Image: In this ad, LG is announcing a special promotion wherein soldiers are invited to a shopping mall where LG representatives will do their laundry for them, so as to, quote "Take the load off of mom".This ad is invoking the role of mothers as supporters in order to align their product with the war effort.
Ad by Yarkoni, 2010
Recently I received a petition, created by a group of 40 mothers, stating very clearly, “We do not wish to hand our boys to the IOF” (Israeli Occupation Forces), and calling for social responsibility and the end of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. This document is uplifting1.
While the bombs fall on Gaza and the majority of Israeli society seems to support the continuance of the military attack on Gaza, we, as Israelis horrified by the actions of our government, find our voices lost. What can we say and do? What value might this have? How can our echoes have any impact on the situation now?
“A true Israeli doesn't dodge draft!”  – this slogan stands at the centre of a large-scale publicity campaign in Israel. The campaign was not run by the Israeli military, and it was not aiming to add more soldiers to the dwindling ranks of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Israel has (at least de jure) universal conscription, for both men and women. But this slogan did express, and strengthen, how most Israelis understand the role of military service in the life of an Israeli – a true Israeli.
Protestors say inducting Christians into the Israeli military would split Arab society.
Groups opposed to the drafting of Christian Arab youth into the Israel Defense Forces, including the youth wing of the Hadash party, staged a protest rally in Nazareth on Saturday in which male and female teens marched into Spring Square in the center of town dressed in military attire and carrying toy rifles.
New Profile, the feminist movement to civil-ize Israeli society, wrote Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, this morning, strongly condemning his recent instructions to prohibit its members' participation in high school debates convened by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) on questions of human rights and freedom of expression.
New Profile wrote the minister that his act had exposed the government's true stand on civil rights and freedom of expression, also belying the Education Ministry's professed respect for tolerance.
“The minister's step was taken in tandem with the decision he took to send yet more military personnel into schools—a move designed to increase enthusiasm for fighting,” New Profile advised in its letter.
Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this militarisation that are being sown resiliently and creatively by numerous people. READ MORE