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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Time for Israel to have a professional army?

Is it time for the IDF to acknowledge reality and go to a professional army? Consider this.
And perhaps the solution lies out of the box. The secular fury over what is perceived as haredi draft-dodging is premised on the myth that the IDF is the people's army. Yet the years have passed and this important concept has been eroded. The haredim, and quite a few seculars, no longer enlist for service.

In practice, the IDF has turned a long time ago into the army of half the people. This may be an unpleasant fact, but overall this is a natural process. A liberal democratic state and the people's army are contradictory terms. Self-fulfillment, individualism and humanism are not synonyms for mandatory military service. Indeed, there is growing tension between these terms.

Given this state of affairs, wouldn't it be more appropriate to gradually shift to a professional army? I stress the gradual nature of such change, because I am aware that Israel at its current state needs a powerful army to protect it. Yet wouldn't a professional army comprising people who choose the military as a career and are rewarded accordingly be better? Did anyone seriously consider this option?

Instead of protesting in favor of the forceful enlistment of haredim, an inhumane and unrealistic step, I would propose that protestors demand that the very duty of IDF service be brought back to the agenda. The years that have passed, the values that have changed and the fact that the IDF has turned, in practice, into an army of half the people requires all of us to consider whether a different, more liberal and humanistic draft policy is a better fit for us in this day and age.
Yes, I agree with him and I've been arguing the same thing for years. But it's not likely to happen. There are a lot of people in this country who have a vested interest in Haredim remaining a downtrodden underclass.

Read the whole thing.

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