Opinion |

Let Every Hebrew Mother Know

Benjamin Netanyahu is but the latest leader to disgracefully use our army to conceal his inability to solve the country's basic problems. Instead the army backs a racist regime

Zeev Smilansky
Zeev Smilansky
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Induction of female recruits in the IDF, August 2015.
Induction of female recruits, August 2015. The issue of who is drafted in the IDF plays an important role in the future of Israel’s young people, said the state comptroller.Credit: IDF Spokesman's Office
Zeev Smilansky
Zeev Smilansky

Let every Hebrew mother know to borrow from David Ben-Gurion – that Israel must be strong in the face of the threats surrounding it. Israel has to be extremely powerful, to the point of deterring its enemies from attacking it. Let every Hebrew mother know that our army may be the most successful organization Israel has ever established, and that if it weakens, the country’s very existence might be endangered.

Given this, let every Hebrew mother know that all this raw power, wielded by this worthy army including its submarines, stealth planes, drones, listening stations and cyberunits with all their daring, wisdom and gall, is managed in a destructive and cowardly way by miserable leaders who rely on unseen forces and delusional myths. This applies not only to Benjamin Netanyahu – he’s but the latest pathetic link in the chain of governments that disgracefully use our army to conceal their inability to solve this country’s basic problems, ones that endanger its existence.

Let every Hebrew mother know that this army to which she sends her sons lacks the main tool it needs – the righteousness of its way. These days our path is just only in the eyes of those lucky enough to believe that the Blessed Lord stands behind them. You, my sister, as well as I, don’t have that privilege. We have to decide our fates on our own and if we err our blood is on our heads.

No hidden forces have fought on our behalf. No Hanukkah miracle has come our way, we’ve found no cache of olive oil. Everything we’ve done was achieved with our own hands and through our own wisdom, with many mistakes and blows suffered, even though we sometimes succeeded.

The justice of our path started crumbling at the time of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. It completely disappeared with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Our blood pact with our government implies that the army only serves two purposes: deterrence and defense.

But let every Hebrew mother know that her sons will now be involved in sustaining a racist regime, reliant on a sense of superiority of the Jewish race. Her pilot son will bomb children, her combatant son will abuse villagers, her high-tech son will eavesdrop on the occupied, her policeman son will abuse minorities and her jurist son will defend the strong and trample the weak. Together they will erode our power and derail our country, sending it to a place where we won’t be able to or want to live.

It’s not for nothing that Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked raise an alarm about B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. They so badly want to be confirmed in their belief that their army is just and pure and that the campaigns they assign it are worthy and just. Like Snow White’s mother they want to smash the mirror that reflects their deeds back to them. In fact, our army is now considerably weaker than it was three decades ago, despite the awesome weapons we’ve accumulated. Its weakness lies in the fact that there is no consensus behind it.

Worse, let every Hebrew mother know that our army hasn’t had one victory in the last 40 years. It was sent to Lebanon twice and returned with its tail between its legs. We then sent our war machine to Gaza to fight a handful of criminals on donkeys armed with rusty cans, and even then we didn’t win. We were shamed instead, because nobody new why we were fighting and what we wanted to achieve.

Let every Hebrew mother know that the army, which should be deployed to attain political objectives only when all other options have been exhausted, is now used before the government tries any other alternative. It has no policy or vision, only a sense that we are just and that behind us stands our Father in Heaven on one side and Sheldon Adelson on the other.

Let every Hebrew mother know that her sons and daughters are sent into battle by a government held captive by a handful of extremists feeding on an aggressive and self-righteous myth. Let her know that some sons are worth more (thus serve less or not at all) and that others will be dragged into intolerable situations, dangerous to their futures and ours.

Let every Hebrew mother ask herself what she should say when her son or daughter is summoned to the induction center. Should she encourage him or her to enlist or to refuse? Or should she keep silent in shame? Is it time for a great refusal and rebellion?

The writer is a technologist, wine expert and novice poet.

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