Category: IDF & Refusal to Serve

To Serve or Not to Serve: A Dialogue Between Me and Myself on the Question of My Service in the IDF (2010-2011)

Forward: There seems to be a bizarre conception among many non-Leftists that we Leftists were born with a Megaphone in hand and developed our critical views of Zionism and militarism in the crib. This view has been expressed over the last few days, following my letter, in various forms: “You need to learn more about this place,” or “You only see one side of things,” or “Why have you never considered joining and being a moral soldier?”

This idea of Leftist-From-Birth, at least in my case, and in the case of most of my Leftist friends, is not the case. I have been wrestling with these issues seriously for a bit over a decade at this point, there were points in my life in which I fully identified with a ”pro-Army” stance, and I have given extensive thought to the idea of ”being a moral soldier.” Since my assertion of such might not suffice for some, I have decided to publish a document I wrote of the course of a year, 2010-2011, on the question of whether or not I would serve in the Israeli military. Many of my views have changed since writing the piece- especially since 2010, but also since the ”conclusion” in 2011- but for the sake of honesty-of-process, I will leave the documented unedited, as I think it will be interesting for some to read the internal process that led me to my recent decision.  It also should be an enjoyable read. Sort of bonkers, very non-academic, and amusing 

To Serve or Not to Serve

A Dialogue Between Me and Myself on the Question of My Service in the Israeli Army

Note: Any irreverence found in this piece should not be taken to mean that I take this subject lightly, by any means, but rather the opposite: this subject is so heavy for me that I would be unable to write about it without a substantial amount of irreverence.

The Cast:
Mori: Generally opposed to serving in the Israeli military. American based, liberal, humanistic.

Moriel: Generally for serving in the Israeli military, more inclined to “be Israeli,” make change from within.

Scene I (Summer 2010, in Jerusalem): To Be A Part of Israel, or To Be Apart from Israel

Mori: Hey.
Moriel: What up.
Mori: Oh, you know.
Moriel: I do indeed.
Mori: This is weird, talking to you.
Moriel: Whatever. It’s like having an imaginary friend. Who happens to be yourself… Anyway. Yalla. Let’s talk.
Mori: Word. So. You want to join the Israeli army?
Moriel: Do I want to? No. Not really. Actually, really not. At least, I don’t want to join the army in and of itself. I am pretty opposed to idea of armies, of organized groups of people whose basic purpose is to kill other people, of violence. Actually, I’d probably say I am almost a pacifist. Almost.
Mori: Hey, me too. What do you know?
Moriel: Hilarious.
Mori: That’s me. Anyways. If you’re generally opposed to the armies, then why would you voluntarily join one? Yes, I know, you’re being drafted, but you could choose not to go back to Israel and spend the rest of your life working for peace in the Middle East from America, so it is a choice…stop grinning at me, you dweeb. Of course I’m going to ask you loaded questions that are phrased such that they answer themselves- I’m you. Fine, fine, how about this: You could wait until you are 27, and then you could get out of serving no problem. So you are choosing to do this. Why?
Moriel: Well, Mori, it’s simple.

{Music cue: high snare, low snare, cymbal}