Friday, November 11, 2011

Chain posts make me feel like a sheep (but sometimes I do them anyway)

In light of 11/11/11 and Veteran's Day, tell us about your favorite soldier and how he or she is saving the world (fictional or real life):

Some background: Although I grew up in the United States, my family is from Israel. I spent the first nine years of my education in Jewish school, I speak Hebrew (relatively) fluently, and we travel to Israel once every year or two to visit family. Although I have never lived in Israel, I do have dual citizenship. However, I do not consider myself Jewish (I'm agnostic), and I don't believe in patriotism.

In Israel, almost all young people have to serve in the army. My parents, my cousins, and my older siblings have all been in the army. My oldest nephew is currently serving. However, the soldier I'm thinking of right now isn't a family member. Actually, I don't even know if I can call him a soldier. I'm thinking of a childhood friend of mine who recently deserted from the army. I haven't spoken to him in over ten years, and I don't know what was his reason for deserting, but I'm incredibly proud of him.

Although I'm a pacifist, I understand the need for national defense, especially in country as controversial as Israel. However, in the last few years, Israel's government* has been pissing me off more and more. There's a huge difference between national defense and outright bullying. I don't want to go into a long rant, but Netanyahu is destroying any chance of peace with the Palestinians. He and his cabinet of right-wing nut jobs (Avigdor Lieberman, Yaakov Amidror) not only refuse to pull Israeli settlers out of Palestinian territories (forcing young soldiers who are barely out of high school to risk their lives by defending them), but they continue to pass laws that are dripping with fascism. (It's illegal to boycott settlement products.)

I admire those who are willing to risk their lives to defend their beliefs, or to protect others. However, I equally admire those who stand up against a corrupt government and choose not to fight for a cause they disagree with. They are the ones who remind us that war is fought by people, not nations.

*I said "Israel's government" and not "Israel" for a reason. Most Israelis do not support Binyamin Netanyahu's actions--they didn't even elect him. The woman who was elected, Tzipi Livni, couldn't assemble a coalition government in time, so the government passed to Netanyahu's party.

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