Reut Seeks Meaning in Her Life

Instead of encouraging our young to volunteer and help society, we send them to the Border Police; it be better were they to stay at home.

Reut is in the 12th grade at a school near Modi'in. I don't know her, but I may assume she's a good student and a devoted daughter. She certainly has a smartphone and a Facebook account. She may wear name brands and go clubbing, like most of her friends. But Reut is looking for more meaning in her life, and she has found it in the Border Police Youth. "It gives me values," she told Haaretz education correspondent Talila Nesher last week. "I like to catch illegal residents."

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We shouldn't complain about Reut, who may be a charming and well-meaning girl, or about dozens of her brainwashed friends in the new youth movement. That's how it is when officers are brought into the schools. That's how it is when society becomes polluted. A Border Police officer comes to the school, talks about the force, proudly describes its "sacred work" and lures the students to volunteer for service "with values."

Her parents are certainly proud of Reut and her comrades in arms - they're already walking around with M16s - and the teachers too are certainly pleased with this lesson on the homeland, as are local government officials. While most of the kids' friends are goofing off at parties, the members of this pioneer youth movement are going out on night missions. Hooray for them.

The person who sent them to the Border Police Youth is contemptible. The person who lured them into it, brainwashed them and sent them on these despicable night missions may have corrupted them irreparably. If I were their father, I'd tell them - go stare at the television, chat yourselves to death on Facebook or dance yourselves silly at clubs - anything but the Border Police Youth. This morally degenerate movement must be disbanded, right now.

The Border Police is one of the most problematic forces Israel has ever established. Many, not all, of its troops come from the poor, the minorities and new immigrants - who take out their societal frustrations on people weaker than they are, the Palestinians. It's no accident that Israel sends them, of all forces, to the territories. It's no coincidence that this is the most brutal of our armed forces, the one whose soldiers most frequently are the subjects of official complaints.

But even if we assume that the Border Police is a necessary evil, what in the world does it have to do with a youth movement? What does it have to do with values? And why do Israeli teenage boys and girls have to get this dose of poison and contamination before their army service, which is corrupting enough?

The Border Police won't tell them who these "illegal residents" are whom they enjoy hunting so much at night. Well, they're people, like them, like their parents, and if this news isn't sensational enough, we'll tell them that these are the most wretched people, who have no other way to feed their families than to crawl into Israel in the dead of night.

That's the goal of nearly all of them. And for that they live like animals and are hunted like animals - recently we've even been using animals to catch them. The Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police sic their dogs on them. They hide at construction sites and behind boulders, in the heat and the cold, going home only once every few weeks, terrified by the Border Police. They hardly see their children, for whom they risk their lives and humiliate themselves to dust.

Israeli contractors take advantage of their situation and pay them shameful wages, sometimes delaying payment or not paying at all. And when they dare sue their employers, as laborer Mohammed Darabya from Dura tried to do recently, they are arrested for illegal residence. Darabya was sentenced to 20 days in prison, even though he had been sent by the Kiryat Arba police to file a complaint in Kiryat Gat. Maybe it was the Border Police Youth who arrested him.

Someone who sends high school kids to hunt these unfortunates begins our militarization and the demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinians too early. It's enough what they do to them in the army. Someone who sees "motivation" in such activity, which in Israel is another word for militarization, must answer the following: motivation for what? To hunt people?

Look what we're doing to these young people (and to ourselves ). Instead of encouraging motivation to help others, to volunteer to help society or study democracy and human rights, we send them to the Border Police. Better they should go back to empty lives. That's preferable to the Border Police Youth.

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