Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reason #2784276 Why I'm Not a Zionist

Israel has a (ridiculous) policy of mandatory military service for every non-Arab (ahem) citizen once they turn 18 years old. This rule applies to both men and women. Men are required to serve for three years, while women must serve two. There are, of course, some exceptions. If you have a medical condition, either physical or psychological, you may be exempted from military service. Women who are married are given a pass as well. Additionally, and most controversially, you may defer from military service if you are an Orthodox Jew a “religious person.”

I’ve got some Israeli friends. Some of them are religious, some of them aren’t. The secular Israelis I’ve spoken to on this matter often express a deep resentment towards and against Orthodox Jews for their pussyfooting tendencies. Essentially, religious service dodgers are chickenhawks – hawks to the concept of war, chicken to their own participation in its practice. As a Jew who stands on the outside of this debate, I’ve always sympathized with the secular Israelis’ argument. Why must they bare the brunt of war and civil hostility – dead sons, daughters, brothers, sisters… – while these black hat dweebs snug their noses inside of the Talmud all day long?

Supermodel Bar Refaeli was recently called out by an Israeli army general, accusing her of deferring from the military. Apparently she joined into a sham marriage in order to dodge the service and then divorced the temporarily-lucky sucker soon afterwards. What was my initial reaction when I read this story? Good for her! She did whatever she could to avoid joining the army. I’d do the same if there was a draft in this country (unless it was a war I deemed just, like WWII). I’m not just supporting her decision because she’s a supermodel. Like I said, I would’ve done the same thing. But let’s kick the facts for a second, shall we? Smoking-hot model chick: must join the army. Haredi Jew: exempt. Huh? Why? Scratch the “smoking-hot model” part. Religious Jews get a pass but women don’t (unless they’re married)? That’s some ol’ bullshit. Israel is often called the “only democracy in the Middle East.” How so? Seems like a theocracy if you ask me…

The State of Israel was once conceived by secular Jews – many, if not most of them, were atheists – who envisioned a socialistic Jewish homeland. Then it got hijacked by right-wing fanatics who impose their primitive, religious beliefs on everyone else, conveniently covering their own asses from the problems they’ve created while making the innocent suffer the consequences. Yet another reason why I, a Jew, can never be a Zionist.