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Photographer Rachel Papo's Serial No. 3817131 is a beautiful photo essay depicting the everyday lives of young women in the Israeli army. Papo herself was born in Ohio and raised in Israel. She served two years in the Israeli Air Force starting when she was eighteen before returning to the US. The project is named after her own ID number during service.

Serial No. 3817131

( Lisa Katayama is a guest blogger.)

116 Responses to “Photo gallery of Israeli girls in the army”

  1. babamoto says:

    NOTHING more fetching than young women and semiautomatic weapons. Nice find, Lisa, my asian sistah

    deke babamoto

  2. wolfiesma says:

    I just wonder how much U.S. taxpayers end up paying for this universal conscription in Israel. If all the money that went to putting up and training all the soldiers went to putting up and training community college students in the U.S., wouldn’t we all be better off?

    They look like really nice girls, though. I think the photographer did an amazing job. They don’t seem sexualized… just very natural.

  3. Foolster41 says:

    goethan: Hard work indeed when a lot of those camel jockeys have long range mortors.

  4. buddy66 says:

    Although Ambrose hung out with veterans and war historians, he was a civilian. He was 8 years old on D-Day. I liked a couple of his things, and consider ”Band of Brothers” the best American war movie. But his knowledge was all second-hand. There are lots of veterans who remember older soldiers — invariably called ”Pops” — and numerous ”older” officers. Ambrose was good, but ”his mouth wasn’t no prayerbook.”

  5. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Server seems to be back up.

    Anyway, the Maxim link in #61 by Frank is by far the more fap-worthy material. (drool)

    This collection is just nice, solid realism.

  6. Mojave says:

    Wonderful things indeed!!

  7. anthony says:

    Thanks, IDANGAZIT. I appreciate your perspective on the conflict. I think we are agreeing when we discuss how taking oil out of the equation could potentially put the land conflict issues on the back burner while more immediate crises are dealt with, but it’d still be there waiting to resurface. It is a troubling issue, and it must be extremely worrisome for a citizen.

    Okay, ACX99 I visited the links, and I read about the weapon and the tank. The articles are about those two things and mention their use by Israel. The articles don’t back up your claims about them being used for crimes against humanity. Am I missing something?

  8. Ari B. says:

    Zuzu @100

    I didn’t realize Judaism was a religious cult.

  9. Astin says:

    It’s somewhat surreal taking the trains in Israel when the soldiers are going to/coming from duty. I believe it’s every Thursday. Cars upon cars full of 18 to 20-somethings in green with rifles at hand. On the one side, you’re surrounded by youths with guns… on the other, you’re pretty sure nobody’s going to start anything with all that firepower around.

    But I’ve said it before – hottest army in the world.

  10. rebdav says:

    #20 these are automatic weapons

    This army life is really hard on these soft girls, many are not jobnicks (office, driver, or warehouse jobs) I get calls at 3am from some lookout or border unit dealing with the stress of the environment, dumb decisions, and missing family if they are Canadian, American, Aussi, English or South African and made aliyah alone. And unlike college if they freak out they cant go home for a break without doctor permission which can be hard to get. Most units are stretched too thin. The guys I teach in yeshiva are post army, but it seems that they handle it much better.

  11. Ari B. says:

    idangazit:

    Very well-written, thanks for sharing!

  12. Ari B. says:

    @77

    “The US spends too much money on Israel” is a tired old chestnut.

    According wikipedia (not the best source, I know, but it’ll do in a pinch.) the 2007 aid budget to Israel was $3 billion, which is peanuts compared to what we’re spending 800 or so miles east of Israel, in Iraq.

    (I’m all for increasing the education budget mind you, but thinking we’re giving away the farm to Israel feels like the folks who think we’re blowing our entire budget on NASA, to me….)

  13. leriseux says:

    Guns are cool, but only in the hands of smoking hot Israelis. I can feel my manhood rising, but Darfur still makes me sad in the pants.

  14. acx99 says:

    Rachel Corrie unavailable for comment.

  15. Mojave says:

    Hottest army that American Tax Dollars can buy!!

  16. buddy66 says:

    Um, how much have we spent in the last 60 years? You know, allowing for inflation and all….

  17. Takuan says:

    if the purpose of billions spent by America on Israel was to ensure oil supply, why is it still needed?

  18. acx99 says:

    it doesnt matter how fucking hot these girls may be, they’re commiting crimes against humanity on a daily basis – whether they’re firing flechette tank rounds into the faces of children, driving armoured Caterpillar D9s over entire streets and family crops or sitting in 100m tall armored sniping posts taking pot-shots at a nation whos impoverishment they are responsible for.

    shame on you BB for glamorising genocide.

  19. gruben says:

    @15 AVIDD

    I’ve talked to Israeli soldiers about the possibility of getting of out their compulsory service and they all said the same thing – that they consider serving for their country their duty and if any of their friends from high school refused to serve they would consider them a traitor and they would no longer be friends. Just wanted to point that out.

  20. Jack says:

    f y’r whnng bt U.S. aid to Israel, you might as well complain about the nearly equal amount the U.S. has been sending to Egypt since 1975.

    I’d rather the U.S. spend billions of dollars each year to support countries that support us. Much better investment than bombing the living hell out of them.

  21. stupidjerk says:

    (Insert misogynist comment here.)

  22. MichaelRN says:

    Idangazit,
    Thank you for taking the time and effort to write your contribution to this discussion. I could not have written it as well as you did. As a dual-citizen IDF veteran, my experience was remarkably similar to that which you described. When this post first appeared, I shook my head and skipped the comments section because I did not feel up to the task of slogging through the inevitable storm of polarized sloganeering from both sides of the issue. I also did not feel that I could adequately express the ambivalence and dismay that so many of us feel about the fucked-up situation that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because of my willingness to empathize with both sides of the conflict I have been called a traitor by pro-Israel groups and a war criminal by pro-Palestinians. I suspect you have encountered similar situations.

    I also wanted to weigh in on the photos: Papo’s photos are beautiful. When viewing them I do not see glamorization or fetishization, although I do see how some people may interpret the photos in that way. Instead, I see young women in a gritty, ambivalent reality.

  23. doggo says:

    (Do, do, do, do, do, do-do-do-do)
    (Do, (doop, doop) do, do, do, do)
    (Do, do, do, do, do, do-do-do-do)

    (Do-do-do-do…)

    I’m eighteen with a bullet
    Got my finger on the trigger, I’m gonna pull it
    I’m picked to click now
    I’m a son-of-a-gun

    So hold it right there little girl, little girl
    We’re gonna have big fun

    I may be an oldie, but I’m a goodie, too
    I’ll last forever and I’ll be good to you
    Oh, yes I will

    (Do, do, do, do, do…)

    I’m eighteen with a bullet
    Got my finger on the trigger, I’m gonna pull it
    I’m a super-soul sure-shot, yeah
    I’m a national breakout
    So let me check your playlist, mama
    Huh, c’mon let’s make out
    I’m high on the chart
    I’m tip for the top
    But till I’m in your heart
    I ain’t never gonna stop
    Never, never baby

    We got a smash double-header
    If we only stay together
    Talkin’ ’bout you
    Talkin’ ’bout me

    (Do, do, do, do, do…)

    I’m eighteen with a bullet
    Got my finger on the trigger, I’m gonna pull it
    Yes I will
    Be my A-side, baby, be beside me
    Right now, right now I’m a single
    But pretty soon you’ll see
    We’ll have a hit first time
    And won’t be long we’ll find
    That we’re raising a whole L.P.
    Woo-hoo

    You know I’m eighteen, woo-hoo, with a bullet
    Yes I am, baby
    I got my finger right there on the trigger
    I’m gonna pull it, pull it, pull it
    You better start makin’ plans, baby
    This old house is too small, now, now, now
    I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I
    I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I
    (Shoop shoop shoop shoop, be doo be doo doo…)

    – 18 With A Bullet, Pete Wingfield

  24. buddy66 says:

    JACK,

    I asked ARI B. a question. Butt out with ”whining.”

  25. jshermbch says:

    It’s ironic that we live in a country that young girls look up to the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian but yet someone used the word “SAD” to describe these pictures of women that will contribute far more to the worlds society than our young girls “Heroins”…

  26. Takuan says:

    I was under the impression that evasion from military service is the rule, not the exception. Shall I endeavour to prove that?

  27. eeejay says:

    For some strange reason people in the U.S. attribute romanticism and heroism with Israeli soldiers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As someone who served in the IDF, and currently resists the occupation, I believe that the positive mental image people have for IDF soldiers is false. Rachel’s show does nothing but uphold that cliche image. It is so old.

    Israel’s militarized culture is an abomination. It will continue to cannibalize Israeli society and corrupt it to it’s core.

  28. Antinous says:

    acx99,

    Take it down a notch, please. Who’s glamorizing anything. They’re documentary photos of young women in the military. Just because some of our commenters think that anything that shows up on a monitor must be porn, doesn’t mean that’s why this was posted. Wars thrive on dehumanizing the enemy. Documenting them can reverse that.

  29. kevin143 says:

    It’s the most urban, Tel Aviv types that are ok with evading military service. These are also the most likely to have a friendly psychiatrist on call.

  30. fool says:

    ‘d lk t s sm f ths grls n th “ssrls” flcks tht wr prfld n Bng Bng whl bck.

    ‘v gt gn thy cn thy prctc shtng wth nytm. hhh

  31. RedMonkey says:

    To StupidJerk; I’m not sure that word means what you think it means, “misogyny” means “the hatred of women”, how is saying that the women in these photos are beatiful translating to hatred? You might stretch the intent of the comments and say they are sexist, and objectifying, but it’s not hatred.

  32. eclectro says:

    This has been on the internets for so long that by now these women are *your grandma*.

  33. idangazit says:

    Thanks again for the kind words!

    #106 / MichaelRN:

    You hit the nail on the head. Not wishing to “[slog] through the inevitable storm of polarized sloganeering” is a perfect description for how I usually feel.

    It was really on a jaunt that I happened to start reading the comments, partly because I wondered if the discussions on boingboing were of a higher caliber than those on digg/slashdot/etc. But your description of the ambivalence and the disownment by both groups really resonates with my experience. “Cheerleader or Traitor”.

    As a longtime amateur photog I also think the photos are beautiful! I completely forgot to mention that, too. *sheepish grin*.

    I don’t think that anybody who has been through the experience could call the photos “glamorizing” in any way. I recognize that look in their eyes. It’s no coincidence that the hebrew terminology and slang used to discuss army time is identical to that used to discuss prison time. For X years you are a number, a piece of equipment in service to the military machine, and it’s impossible to escape that feeling.

    All of those girls should have thought bubbles over their heads, saying “Ad Matay?!” (“Until when?!”)

  34. Jack says:

    @#83 PSTD BY BDDY66:
    Bddy66, ws ctlly wllng t gv yr clms bt knwldg f g n th mltry sm crdnc. Bt jdgng by y sm t b mr f trll thn cntrbtr. Dr sy, ptntl “mll nnj” mtrl.

    Thr s n rsn y hd t lsh t t m bt ths, spclly snc ‘v bn frly grcs n my rspnss t y. spclly snc —nd thrs—cntr yr clms wth ths dd thng clld “fcts”. Y mght wnt t s thm; Stphn mbrs ds.

  35. Ari B. says:

    My wife’s cousin just finished his term of service in the IDF, and is getting ready to get back to normal life. (He’s planning to study in yeshiva for a year, then go to college and study accounting or somesuch.)

    With regards to folks describing it as “a disaster for the national psyche,” it pretty much becomes a normal part of life, all things considered. When everyone does it, it becomes more-or-less normal. Israel’s in a situation where they likely can’t depend on a volunteer-only army. Was the UK’s National Service a “disaster” for the British psyche? Probably not.
    It gives (almost) everyone, regardless of social/economic status a common experience. I’d support some sort of national service (military, civic, or otherwise) year here in the US if I thought it was viable.

    I lived in Israel for a year before college, studying in a seminary in Jerusalem. The always-visible guns and the heightened military presence just become part of the landscape. I volunteered for the local equivalent of neighborhood watch, and it required a rifle and a bulletproof vest. You get used to it.

    That year (1998), I took a trip to Poland, and the armed soldiers at the airport made me more nervous than the streets full of soldiers and armed civilians in Israel.

    Then again, that’s just me. YMMV

  36. Thalia says:

    What is worse, to have a military that is completely disconnected from most people or one where everyone’s child serves? Israel is much less likely to have stupid wars with no accountability, because every politician knows that their kids, and the voters’ kids, may be in the military. In the U.S. there is a huge disconnect between those in power and those who serve in the military. And that is much more dangerous.

    Nice candid photos here.

  37. Cowicide says:

    Lisa Katayama, were you in Denver Saturday night by the Leela European Café? Around the same time when the cops found the BS “bomb” up the street, I told friends that I had a bit of a fetish for Israeli fighter women and it caused some slight commotion.

    I remember this, because it was right after I asked the cops if they had any trouble blowing up the hotdog down the road (it turned out to just be a harmless unauthorized container). Later, a large group of cops “stormed” into Leela and we all looked at them like all hell was going to break loose and they laughed at our reactions and got coffee.

    Coincidence?

  38. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Jack, Buddy66′s manners are noticeably better than yours.

    BB Ate My Name @67:

    You see sex in those pictures, I see pro-gun politics, others see genocide or anti-americanism.

    Yup. What I don’t understand is why they can’t discuss what they see in the photographs, instead of falling back on the same old non-photo-related arguments we’ve all heard a zillion times.

    Frankieboy @73, the most impassioned opposition to a universal draft would come from the military. They object to being made into babysitters for draftees who don’t want to be there, don’t repay extensive training, and can’t necessarily be relied on.

    Jack @76, firsthand data beats generalizations, even generalizations made by Stephen Ambrose.

    Ari B. @79, I can’t bring myself to think of three billion dollars as peanuts. That said, I agree that way too many citizens can’t figure out what fraction of the national budget that represents.

    WiredEarp @89, please delete extra line returns at the ends of draft comments before you hit “post”.

    ACX99 @90: Let me start with your closing line:

    You may moderate me but don’t you dare call me a liar.

    I do what I think is right. There’s no “dare” about it. As for you, pray, do not think you’re going to win arguments by playing the bully.

    To repeat what I said earlier, in comment #58, what you said in comment #28 is literally untrue. These soldiers are not “committing crimes against humanity on a daily basis.”

    Since you appear to be incapable of noticing this point on your own, even after my not-very-subtle hints, allow me to point out that headline on the entry that begins this thread does not say “FREE FOR ALL! Come post your canned opinions about Israel and the Palestinians, without regard for the ongoing conversation! Intransigently bitter tone a plus!”

    The entry is about an online gallery of photographs of Israeli female soldiers. That’s what we were discussing. Could you make it any clearer that you didn’t really bother to read the entry, the article, or the accumulated comments? Even now, it hasn’t occurred to you that my remark might be explained by its context.

    The girls in those photos are not committing crimes against humanity. There’s scarcely a Caterpillar D9, hundred-meter sniping post, or flechette tank round to be seen. It may be that on some occasion, when the camera isn’t looking, one or more of them will be involved in such actions. Or maybe not; who knows? But even if they are, they’re sure as hell not doing it on a daily basis.

    The larger question of Israel and the Palestinians would undoubtedly remain, whether or not someone took a series of interesting photographs of female soldiers. Why should I scrape all the fine particular detail off this high-res bit of the big picture, and replace it with your coarse smudgy B&W all-caps Univers Extra Bold sloganeering? I do not see how that loss of particularity serves the interests of truth. It serves the importance of your opinions; but that’s a different issue.

    As for whether you’re a deliberate liar, I wouldn’t know. I learned long ago to be wary of people who make a big fuss about what an affront to their honor it is to mention the possibility that what they’re saying is not entirely accurate. It’s not evidence, but it does make me wary.

    I’ll bet you still haven’t taken the time to really look at those photographs.

    Idangazit @91, thank you very much for restoring us to the real universe. My favorite sentence:

    If I had one suggestion to you, the reader, it is to understand that Israel is complex and that most of the people talking about it have no farking clue.

    They said it less bluntly, but I was effectively told the same thing many years ago by friends in Northern Ireland. Subsequent experience proved the value of their advice, so I have no trouble believing it again from you.

    Idangazit again, @95:

    Why is it that so many Arab countries are theocracies or dictatorships?

    Because an economy based on single-commodity resource extraction makes it too easy for a small ruling class to effectively capture their country’s entire cash flow, at which point those rulers cease to need most of their citizens, let alone their approval?

    I know, I know — it’s the same thing you said. It’s just that I only made the acquaintance of that analysis a few months ago, so the romance is still in its giddy early phase. It explains so much! — for instance, the way vast wealth can run through a country, yet leave almost no trace of its passage after the commodity is gone; and also why the rest of the country is impoverished when the money’s still running in the main channel. Local trade and manufacture can’t compete when those who have the buying power can have the world’s finest products shipped to their doors. For those with ambitions, the only really profitable option is to make themselves useful to the ruling class, and hope they’ll receive in return their tiny fraction of the flow of their country’s money.

    I’ll stop here, because there’s no natural stopping point.

    ACX99 @96: See? The details matter.

    Zuzu @102

    …Civilian commanded armies start wars for political reasons.

    What better reasons are there? War is an instrument of policy, not an end in itself.

    MichaelRN @106, 111; Idangazit @107:

    When this post first appeared, I shook my head and skipped the comments section because I did not feel up to the task of slogging through the inevitable storm of polarized sloganeering from both sides of the issue. I also did not feel that I could adequately express the ambivalence and dismay that so many of us feel about the fucked-up situation that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because of my willingness to empathize with both sides of the conflict I have been called a traitor by pro-Israel groups and a war criminal by pro-Palestinians. I suspect you have encountered similar situations.

    You hit the nail on the head. Not wishing to “[slog] through the inevitable storm of polarized sloganeering” is a perfect description for how I usually feel.

    It was really on a jaunt that I happened to start reading the comments, partly because I wondered if the discussions on boingboing were of a higher caliber than those on digg/slashdot/etc. But your description of the ambivalence and the disownment by both groups really resonates with my experience.

    You guys see that? It’s why we moderate. Every so many of the interesting people and conversations won’t turn up in a thread full of the same tired old arguments being posted for the hundredth time by people who’ve stopped paying attention to the responses they get.

    MichaelRN and Idangazit are saying new things. They’re being interesting. Did you notice how close we came to not getting to hear them? Neither one wants to have to slog through a big mess of polarized sloganeering. I sympathize. There are far better games we could be playing.

  39. boingboing ate my name says:

    So with all those weapons everywhere, Israel’s rates of violence must be through the roof, right? Murders everywhere? Blood in the streets? Thousands of children dying? No?

  40. anthony says:

    #41 Please don’t start that up.

  41. consideredopinion says:

    To BB Ate My Name @67: You see sex in those pictures, I see pro-gun politics, others see genocide or anti-americanism.

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator said: Yup. What I don’t understand is why they can’t discuss what they see in the photographs, instead of falling back on the same old non-photo-related arguments we’ve all heard a zillion times.

    To the rhetorical question I answer – it’s one of those fascinating things about human psychology…how quickly a uniform, a common tool, erases the individuality of a person – and transform them into a symbol to be admired/reviled/etc. Worryingly, this probably applies across more media – and we’ll see it showing up all over the Internet.

  42. minTphresh says:

    BBAMN, no, of course not. israel is , of course, the most non-violent place on earth! i’m sure disneyland got nothin on them! hardly a day goes by without me reading somewhere in the news about how friendly the isrealis and their buddies the palestinians frollic and cavort! no murders, no blood, no chilluns dyin…fuckin paradise.

  43. Jack says:

    @#114 POSTED BY TERESA NIELSEN HAYDEN / MODERATOR

    Jack @76, firsthand data beats generalizations, even generalizations made by Stephen Ambrose.

    True indeed. But in this case there is no “data” but simply “You don’t know what you’re talking about…” claims made without any facts or data to back it up.

    Jack, Buddy66′s manners are noticeably better than yours.

    So when Buddy66 says:

    I asked ARI B. a question. Butt out with ”whining.”

    That is not considered trolling?

    Teresa, I’m thinking your moderation methods are a tad too overbearing and a tad overly nasty for someone who is a mod. Additionally, there are some people posting in comments here who clearly have a deeper connection to BoingBoing than simply being casual commenters. It’s coming down to nepotism and simple favoritism; some are labelled “trolls” and others are simply “outspoken”.

    Said it before—and I will say it again—what makes this all hard to swallow is this is BoingBoing, a site that criticizes others for lack of transparency and fights openness. But in many ways it’s all coming down to self-serving rhetoric.

    Can you guys generally ease up a bit and perhaps hold your own friends—who are commenters—too the same standards as us lowly “normals”.

  44. GASPACHO says:

    What’s next; The Hot Bods of the Chinese Gestapo(Or Photo Gallery of Chinese Boys in the Army). I thought Boing Boing did better than that.

  45. Antinous says:

    Less hissing, please.

  46. rebdav says:

    #72 they do eat, go on leave, and sleep with their weapon nearby(unloaded magazine removed), lesson learned durning the surprise of the Yom Kippur war, nobody had their weapon.

    For all those who complain about the American aid most of it is a matching grant/bribe to Israel and Egypt to give the Sinai back to Egypt and for Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel at the Camp David accords in 1979.

  47. WiredEarp says:

    @#32 jshermbch,

    “women that will contribute far more to the worlds society”

    Um, no. I don’t think that being drafted and running around with your M16 somewhere in the Middle East shooting (or not shooting) people, is somehow ‘contributing far more to the worlds society’. Certainly I find it hard to imagine how they are contributing to anything but Israeli society?

  48. minTphresh says:

    as f.z. once said: i wanna funky little jewish princess, (lalalala) with a garlic aroma that could level tacoma! for 2 or 3 nights…I just want a princess who fights! ( o.k. i was paraphrasing)( or maybe just slightly misquoting!)

  49. anthony says:

    If anything these photos speak to frailty (of life, not women in particular) and uncertainty during wartime. I see no political bias in them. BoingBoing does not appear to be pushing an agenda but revealing some truth-wonderful.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Is it me or could #10 seriously pass as Cammy from the Street Fighter series?

    http://www.serialno3817131.com/serialno10.html

  51. GASPACHO says:

    I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman. Those pics were pretty whack anyway. My stance is similar to this one:

    “#28 posted by acx99 , August 25, 2008 1:16 PM
    t dsnt mttr hw fckng ht ths grls my b, thy’r cmmtng crms gnst hmnty n dly bss – whthr thy’r frng flchtt tnk rnds nt th fcs f chldrn, drvng rmrd Ctrpllr D9s vr ntr strts nd fmly crps r sttng n 100m tll rmrd snpng psts tkng pt-shts t ntn whs mpvrshmnt thy r rspnsbl fr.

    shm n y BB fr glmrsng gncd.”

    & ths n

    http://vd.ggl.cm/vdply?dcd=-2451908450811690589&hl=n

    ‘m llrgc t fpnp nywy.

  52. acx99 says:

    @ #58 posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator.

    Apologies for offending your sensibilities but the 3 examples i gave are 100% true and easily verifiable.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flechette:
    “The use of artillery flechette rounds in populated areas has recently been criticized largely as a result of the publicity generated by their use by the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip…Detractors argue that the such use of the rounds conflicts with the Fourth Geneva Convention provisions protecting non-combatants”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterpillar_D9:
    “it has been particularly effective for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)”

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottmontreal/2567769801/:
    “In the background is a Israeli gun tower.”

    You may moderate me but don’t you dare call me a liar.

  53. shagman says:

    Link is farked… er, Boinged…

  54. Willie McBride says:

    I can’t express with the proper emphasis how happy I am to live in a peaceful country, member of the European Union, who has been at peace since 1945 and 4 years ago finally abolished mandatory military service.

  55. idangazit says:

    Hi folks. There seems to be a lot of speculation and off-topic politics in the thread, so I thought I’d contribute what background I could share as a secular, jewish dual-citizen of the US and Israel. I think this will supply some backstory useful to understanding and appreciating these images.

    I’m not going to write about Rachael Corrie or genocide or whatever, I’m not going to argue with people who form their opinions on the basis of CNN (clueless), the Guardian (biased), or Fox News (evangelical & scary). My comments reflect my personal experience, having “been there” for several years as part of my military service. Take it as you wish. I’ll reply/write more if you ask nicely and don’t flame.

    ** REGARDING: “Compulsory Service”

    Service in the armed forces is currently three years for boys and roughly two years for girls. Can you get out of it? Sure. I don’t know statistics, it’s possible, but not easy. You can’t just go into a psychologist’s office and say that you’re a gay pacifist with lower back pain and dreams where you kill your commanding officer with a toothbrush. Getting released from service is a difficult process, and forever stamps you with “psychological discharge” in your army file, which is something that your employers are later interested in.

    That being said — Israel is much different than it used to be. In my parents’ generation (1970′s), dodging your service was HEAVILY stigmatized. My mom once told me of the one boy in her class who (whisper whisper) didn’t *want* to serve! *gasp*. Like that.

    Today, there is a sense in much of Israeli society, particular among the secular, left-leaning Tel Aviv crowd, that the military has lost its moral imperative due to the occupation. Youths speak openly of not wanting to serve in the military. How many of them get off the hook? Again, without statistics (which I doubt the army would release) I don’t know, but not many. To get released you must fight the system hard, and the system makes your life truly miserable for the duration (can include prison time, threats of crappy postings when you finally break down and get inducted, etc). In the end the army doesn’t really want somebody that they believe to be a danger to their integrity, but you have to prove it to them by vigorously standing your ground in the face of misery for a while first.

    Of note, the Israeli military doesn’t consider homosexuality dangerous to “troop morale” and won’t release you from service on the grounds of your sexual orientation alone. If a gay man claims that he would be uncomfortable serving around a lot of straight men in a combat unit, then the army finds other places for you to serve, usually something terribly boring (stockroom manager, truck driver) and asks you to choose. I served with a decorated gay officer. He was good at his job and that’s where everybody’s level of interest ended. I didn’t know or care who he hooked up with on weekends and neither did anybody else — it just wasn’t a matter of comment. “Don’t Care” versus “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell”.

    So service is pretty compulsory, if only because they make it the path of least resistance. The ones who *really* want out need to *really* want out.

    There is one exception: entire batches of women are often exempted from service because the army doesn’t have use for the “manpower”. Which leads nicely into…

    ** REGARDING: “Women in the IDF”

    While women can choose to serve in many combat units now, for a long time this wasn’t an option. The Israeli army has long delegated the role of instruction to its females, partly because the girls weren’t eligible for actual combat service, but also probably because 18-year-old boys listen quite attentively to not-much-older girls.

    “Instruction” isn’t as easy as it sounds, particularly in the combat corps. These girls aren’t instructing you how to pack your gear, they’re teaching you how to fire your rifle accurately or how to drive a tank. Machismo is rampant among Israeli 18 year-olds, so these female instructors need to be be convincingly *better* at the job than the cocky young stallion who thinks he’s all that because he just got issued a uniform and a rifle. These girls undergo the same training that the men receive, plus instructional training on how to “handle” the young machismo-bombs and train them in their method of warfare. For most men in combat service, these women are the *only* women they get to see on base, and yes, you cannot just “go home” when you please. In the beginning, you usually spend up to a month on base, with a weekend leave. As you gain in seniority, your leaves gradually become closer together and longer, the crapwork and guard duty being pawned off on some young private.

    There are a million secretaries and random boring support roles that are largely filled by girls. For the motivated/intelligent, being a secretary is like a 2-year prison sentence — so the army usually offers motivated girls intelligence or instructional posts, and if they refuse, they get to be secretaries.

    This is why the army releases so many girls from serving: there are only so many useful posts to be filled, and even so many secretarial jobs. Each inducted soldier costs the military quite a pretty penny (gear, food, training, healthcare & insurance, measly monthly stipend, etc). At some point the army decided that it didn’t want to spend lots of money to “jail” thousands of motivated girls in secretarial posts that the army didn’t really need. So nowadays, many girls are simply released from service.

    For girls who opt (or are forced) to go the secretarial route, this is also thought to be the source of much of the sexism and awful gender relations in Israel. The stereotype of “macho commanding officer men” and “secretary women” is not a good recipie for gender equality later in life. Case in point: Moshe Katzav, our previous President (a largely ceremonial role in israel, the Prime Minister is the real head of government), raped and blackmailed quite a few women in his office. In his office! He got off with a slap on the wrist and full pension benefits. That man deserves a special place in hell, but this isn’t the forum.

    ** REGARDING: “Firearms & Safety”

    Yes, almost every 18 year old boy and girl is carrying around a rifle. Handguns are reserved for those with specific needs (pilots, submariners) and officers. Yes, per capita, there are FAR LESS gun-related fatalities in Israel because everybody gets firearms safety drilled into them during basic.

    That bears repeating: everybody who gets a gun first gets a weeklong dose of firearms safety, including being taught how to strip a rifle, how it works, how it malfunctions, and even REQUIRED lessons on firearms and morality (aka the IDF’s “Purity of Arms” lectures). Forget for a second whether or not the “purity of arms” part is being heeded in today’s military (I think not) and let me relate what this firearms safety stuff entails.

    When I was issued a rifle, my sergeant plainly stated to us: “From now on, this rifle is more attached to you than your penis is. You NEVER leave it alone. You NEVER point it at somebody. You NEVER leave it alone. You NEVER leave it alone. You NEVER EVER EVER point it at somebody.”

    Literally, he meant what he said. The rifle never sits on the ground next to you. It’s a lot like a baby — you always have a hand on it, somehow. When you shower, you shower in pairs — your buddy holds both your rifles and you scrub quickly, and then you trade off. It’s like the rifle needs your body contact to survive. I already anticipate the har-har gay jokes. Save some electrons and get your adolescent giggles elsewhere.

    You sleep with the rifle in a fashion that makes it hard to steal the rifle. More than one poor Joe in basic has learned the hard way (army prison) that the sergeants like to sneak into your tent at night and take rifles away from those who weren’t vigilant enough. I slept with my arm looped twice through the rifle strap, the rifle under my pillow, inside my sleeping bag. You do pushups with the rifle balanced on your fingertips. Kitchen duty? The cooks arrange their rifles in a standing cone, “tripod” style, and one soldier watches while the others work. Even the method in which the rifle is carried is dictated to you: with the strap diagonally across the chest, muzzle pointed earthwards, as opposed to slinging it off of one shoulder like a handbag, where the muzzle can point upwards (dangerous) and the rifle can be easily torn from your body (dangerous).

    It’s only a bunch of anecdotes, but I think it makes the attitude towards rifles clear: they’re DANGEROUS and IMPORTANT and NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH. That’s why you see anybody with a rifle holding it close. Naturally the amount of “stupid enforcement” drops off once you’re out of basic and out from under the thumb of your sergeant, but this mentality regarding firearms is not a bad one to foster in any society, in my opinion.

    Extreme? Sure. But in the words of a famous IDF disciplinarian: “if you make sure that every soldier’s uniform buttons are in place then you won’t need to deal with larger infractions”.

    Wow, that was a lot longer than what I thought I would write. I hope some of you enjoyed a little first-person perspective about the IDF that didn’t come from either rah-rah-Israel or zionism-is-apartheid. If I had one suggestion to you, the reader, it is to understand that Israel is complex and that most of the people talking about it have no farking clue. Occupation is evil and so are suicide bombers, but they’re apples and oranges and debates about moral equivalency don’t get us closer to less dead bodies. Arab countries lie through their teeth to western media and the Israeli army isn’t manned by angels with “Justice Guns” that only harm the wicked.

    Israel, like most countries, is parts good and evil, but it’s not too different from the USA. The difficultly is in identifying the good and damning the evil when so many parties actively try to manipulate the information you receive.

    The best thing to do, in my opinion? Figure out how to get rid of oil and we’ll be one GIANT step closer to putting out the fire in the deserts. You want peace in the middle east? Make noise about green energy-independence in the USA. A few billion dollars to solve the fuel-cell riddle will reshape the Middle East faster than any number of troops or planes. The USA is the only nation that is both capable of taking this step and large enough that the solution would be widely adopted. It won’t solve everything but it’s Something We Can Actually Do To Improve the World.

  56. Spikeles says:

    If this was slashdot, i’d give that a +Infinity Insightful/Interesting mod idangazit.

  57. Takuan says:

    I have seen innumerable images of maimed, wounded, mutilated and horribly dead male soldiers. So much so that when asked to visualize a male soldier, the first thing to come up is a man under fire or hit already. I don’t think I can do that with female soldiers. Is this a good thing? Should it be changed? At the moment,if asked to think of women at war, the only casualty image that comes to mind is civilian. Fictional film images are in a different mental filing cabinet.

  58. Enochrewt says:

    Soo, uh where’s the genocide? Or maybe you mean they’re defending against genocide? l-l lnd dlsts sck.

    There’s a photo in there I thought I’d never see, a girl with dreds in a military uniform. And she’s actually in a military. Wild.

  59. idangazit says:

    @ #92: thanks :)

  60. anthony says:

    IDANGAZIT,

    I’m not sure how taking oil out of the picture would reduce conflict there. My guess is that it would just reduce our involvement in other affairs of the region. The dispute over boundaries would go on.

    #90 If you don’t want to come across as a liar, don’t post fake links that lead to “sorry page does not exist”.

    #86-I’ve never seen these photos before, so I’m glad they were posted. If these girls are older no, no doubt they have been replaced by others of the same age and at the same risk.

  61. anthony says:

    People who are pro war can also be seen as “idealists”.
    No matter your opinion (side?) of the ongoing conflict, these photos show young people who carry out their daily routines while heavily armed. Whether its for defense or offense may not be the point of the essay.

  62. boingboing ate my name says:

    #42 “Please don’t start that up.”

    Why not? People see sex and genocide in those pictures, why cant i superimpose my politics on them as well?

  63. anthony says:

    “Why not? People see sex and genocide in those pictures, why cant i superimpose my politics on them as well?”

    You typed out that sentence without any red flags popping up?

  64. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    Funny on the photographer’s Web site he calls them The Hotties of the Israeli Army.

    And he adds a tag line You’ll never think of the Middle East the same way ever again… haha.

    Also does any one remember a series of photographs of female Israeli soldiers from a few years ago?

  65. Jack says:

    Nice stuff!

  66. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    ACX99 @28, take your cliches and stuff them up your dataport. First, what you’re saying is literally untrue. These soldiers are not “committing crimes against humanity on a daily basis.”

    Second, the point of photography is to help us see things we’d never otherwise see, or to see things in a different way. Go back and look at the pictures, why don’t you. I wouldn’t mind hearing your real reactions to the actual story, but I don’t see why I should have to listen to canned rants.

    Jshermbch @32, you can go over and sit in the cliche corner with ACX99. The young women of America don’t idolize Paris Hilton. Does anyone?

    BB Ate My Name @41, please don’t start that up. (Note that unlike Anthony, whom I applaud, I’m using “please” as an imperative intensifier.)

  67. anthony says:

    Frank I believe those are two different photographers: Rachel Papo and Pao Lody?

  68. GASPACHO says:

    Why did post #50 get scrambled? Is the Mossad administering Boing Boing comments now?

  69. knifie_sp00nie says:

    Must not fap!

  70. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    Maxim did a photo spread called “Women of the Israel Defense Forces”, but this isn’t what I am thinking of.

  71. idangazit says:

    #94 / Anthony: conflict is funded by money, like any other enterprise. Why is it that so many Arab countries are theocracies or dictatorships? Despite the irony, when oil wealth is nationalized then the government doesn’t need the approval of its citizenry anymore. Taking away that cash cow would directly impact the wallets and stability of the countries that most encourage / least inhibit actual, honest-to-god let’s-kill-the-infidels terrorism.

    So “worthless oil” would mean that the world would lose interest in the region overnight, and probably would involve some serious destabilization of many arab governments. Note that the wiser Arab states are already thinking about this, and are actively trying to parlay their oil wealth into business gravitas in the middle east (see: Dubai).

    Would that be good in the short term? Probably not. As a resident of Israel I can tell you that the thought of what happens when the despots go broke scares the willies out of me.

    However, in the long term, the world not being hostage to petroleum held by despots is a Very Good Thing. How about a US president rebuking Saudi Arabia for having a human rights record that makes China seem benevolent?

    In the end, with or without “worthless oil,” I don’t think it’s the border disputes that will matter here. Although it’s barely discussed in western media, water is a much more explosive subject in these parts (where water is scarce). Israel is barely supplying enough water to its population as it is, and all of the populations in the area are growing. Desalinization is a stopgap measure that is energy-inefficient and doesn’t scale.

    The boundaries of the nations around here matter little if their governments are in shambles from losing the enormous income they have relied on for >50 years, and the people don’t have water to drink. Naturally, I imagine that their desperation act will be to attack Israel, who doesn’t have any oil and thus will be unaffected.

  72. ericmonse says:

    I dated a girl a few years back who was proud to have dual Israeli-American citizenship. Like many people moving into the exclusively Jewish Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, she considered Israel her “second home.” Her first home was in New Jersey.

    The West Bank/Palestine is a first home and only home to Palestinians. And if you live in the US you can thank your government for supporting the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. We donate $3 billion a year so they can continue the occupation.

    The problem isn’t with compulsory military service or your fetish with girls and guns. The problem is the occupation and colonization of land, or which there is no excuse.

  73. acx99 says:

    @Anthony #94, I am merely guilty of the lesser crime of being incompetent at pasting links ;-) remove the trailing colons, or simply enter the subject words into google yourself.

  74. Manny says:

    It makes me think about how the whole country is on the front lines when I see them in the city with their guns.

  75. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    @59 you are right, sorry for the (now) incorrect post. I’ll guess he (my link) took them from the photographer’s Web site. Too bad they have a Copyright.

  76. arkizzle says:

    Anthony, relax on #90

    Simply remove the “:” that ACX99 erronously included in the urls..

    or go here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flechette

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterpillar_D9

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottmontreal/2567769801/

    That’s easier, huh?

  77. arkizzle says:

    Idangazit, a great contribution.
    Sounds like you have an incredibly clear and balanced picture of the situation.
    Thanks for taking the time to share it.

  78. RedMonkey says:

    Now there’s some recruiting posters!

  79. acb says:

    Maxim are doing IDF photo features? I thought it would be more Vice territory. (They’d have to give them some American Apparel shorts or something, though.)

  80. boingboing ate my name says:

    #62 “I agree with those that feel this is somewhat intentionally sexual and commercial. As you go through these there are elements that seem a step past candid and accidental sexuality. Remember, a photographer captures the images he/she chooses to capture.”

    I stand by my initial feeling that people tend to insert their own biases and preconceptions on to whatever art they see. You see sex in those pictures, I see pro-gun politics, others see genocide or anti-americanism.

  81. stevew says:

    Massive collection here (24 v. large pages) http://www.israelmilitary.net/showthread.php?t=654 makes me wish I had a faster connection.

  82. Aloisius says:

    Now there’s some recruiting posters!

    Service in the Israeli military is mandatory for Jewish men and women. I’m not sure they need recruitment posters.

  83. Foolster41 says:

    #63: Isreal has no right to exist? I wonder how many here actually belive that. I would hope and expect very few.

    The propaganda of “Isreal is commiting war crimes ARGH!” is willfully denying the fact of HAMAS rocketing their cities, kidnapping soldiers for randsom and slaughtering students and then celebrating in the streets. Remember, Palastinians celebrated 9/11. Now tell us the Palastinians are our ally and friend of freedom and that Isreal is “evil”.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/03/09/2008-03-09_palestinian_celebration_of_murder_dooms_.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrations_of_the_September_11,_2001_attacks

    Note, I don’t think Palastine is “evil” either, but their current regeme is definitly bent on destroying Isreal and the US.

  84. freshyill says:

    Watch out, Yorick. Alter is coming for you.

  85. anthony says:

    Foolster,

    you should read the ‘allegations of fraud’ section right under the ‘Palestinian celebration’ section of the WIKI article you pointed to.
    I’m sure no one expects this thread to solve a bitter land conflict with roots in religious and cultural differences. No one involved is smelling like a bouquet of roses, in my opinion.

    I am happy to be reading most of the discussion here, though.

  86. trueblue2 says:

    Great photos; thanks for posting this.

  87. papercup mixmaster says:

    This is a really great photo set. The ubiquity of their assault rifles is more than a little startling; the girl emerging from the shower with a towel around her waste and her gun over her shoulder, or the girl in sweats with snacks and a pack of cigarettes, almost like she’s in a college dorm, but with her gun. Impressive, and rather a different life from what most of us know.

  88. mgfarrelly says:

    It’s chilling to see young people who would be in college or starting jobs at their age, holding huge rifles. The juxtaposition of these women just hanging out in their quarters like any kid their age and the firepower they’re slinging is really affecting.

    They’re very lovely and very young.

    http://www.serialno3817131.com/images/10.jpg

  89. Jack says:

    @#10 POSTED BY MGFARRELLY

    It’s chilling to see young people who would be in college or starting jobs at their age, holding huge rifles.

    Patronizing comment at best. This can be said about the military anywhere and anyplace. ALL armies are made up of the young. You know what the biggest inaccuracy of Saving Private Ryan is? Tom Hanks would simply have not been in the military at his age.

    And I have no romanticism towards the Israeli Defense Force. I truly admire that they can defend themselves from hostile neighbors, but at the same time I feel that in 2008 Israel can really be looked upon with a critical eye as well. They are not entirely angels. They have acted in questionable ways. And they have done this continually harping on the importance of preventing another massacre of the Jews ala the Holocaust. I have news for you: Living a life in paranoia is not a life. And nothing makes me feel like I’m talking to a bunch of zombies than when I talk to fellow Jews in Israel who just spout catchphrase after catchphrase.

    As a direct child of Holocaust survivors, I will tell you enough is enough on all levels. Palestine never existed as a country and was only created as a political tool when Israel came into existence. Israel’s claims of claiming land to “protect” themselves are bullshit; it’s all been a land-grab and expansion of borders since 1967. Both sides are playing games and it’s sick. And honestly the only way I see this ever ending is some massive tragedy happening in the mid-east that would put this mess in perspective. Heck, develop a true oil/gas alternative and suddenly the wealth of most nations there would evaporate overnight.

    Also, would anyone be saying “It’s chilling to see young people who would be in college or starting jobs at their age, holding huge rifles.” if these were pictures of men? Yes, service is mandatory, but it’s their choice. Let them do what they want as long as they respect what others want.

    And personally, I found college to be a 5 year hole in my life and I cannot relate to people who would love to be in college all the time. They always cite the “education” and “thirst for knowledge”, but you know what? You can learn in the real world as well. Especially nowadays where the cost of college is insane and the post-college benefits are a bit questionable.

  90. Foolster41 says:

    I read it, and the impression I get is of neutral info, not telling whether the general idea is approval or not. A more “Not necessarily” and not a “not it’s not true.”

    You are right the situation is complex, and Israel isn’t perfect, but I find Gustapcho’s comparison of Israel to China who has been torturing dissidents and missionaries for decades quite disturbing.

  91. buddy66 says:

    #87 posted by Jack:

    Buddy66, I was actually willing to give your claims about knowledge of age in the military some credence. But judging by you seem to be more of a troll than a contributor. Dare I say, potential “mall ninja” material.

    ”But judging by [sic ] you seem to be more of a troll…” Which words are missing here, Jack? Something questioning my credibility, no doubt; I’m curious. Your claimed graciousness when responding to an earlier comment of mine, was belied when you accused me of ”whining” when I asked a question of another commenter. I took it as an insult, thus my reply: ”Butt out.” But perhaps whining is just background music to you, or simply a common accusation in your contentious vocabulary.

    I’ve never been called a troll before, although I admit to scattering catnip now and then; and as for ”mall ninja,” I had to look it up. (The sort of garden variety fantasists in their studly ”cammies” who used to visit my bookstore’s magazine racks to browse the gun and knife publications.) I’m nothing like those sad specimens of curdled testosterone, and it is a further insult to suggest I could be.

    I was actually willing to give your claims about knowledge of age in the military some credence.

    How very nice of you. You were willing to just maybe give ”some credence” to first-hand experience (mine) over second-hand reporting (Ambrose’s). I don’t know how many dozens, possibly hundreds, of ex-soldiers Ambrose interviewed, Jack, but I soldiered with thousands. I just might know a little more about boots on the ground soldiering than any civilian historian could ever know. I expect him to know more about campaigns, battles, logistics, and outcomes — that’s his job — but I know more about the ages of my men and officers than he could possibly know. My knowledge of the matter is personal. Yours is third-hand. You’ve already insulted me; don’t insult yourself by further pretending to injury. Or I’ll think you’re whining.

  92. RedMonkey says:

    To Aloisius – Well duh! What I meant was I’m sure most foreign military wouldn’t be above using these photos and shopping them with little flags on their shoulders and using them for recruting. I’m just saying; stick a videogame console in the backgrounds shots of the bunks and you’ve just covered your target demographic.

  93. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #91: Well, I echo Arkizzle’s comment (#98) above. I’m very aware of the complexity of the situation in Israel. So far your post is one of the few in this thread to express that (apart from being wonderfully rich and articulate).

    On a completely different note, we seem to have slashdotted the gallery to death :(

    (The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.)

  94. Jesse in Japan says:

    This is her everyday life? Does she always sleep with an assault rifle?

  95. clueless in brooklyn says:

    cute jewish girls and guns. yum.

  96. frankieboy says:

    I know I’ve got a “Make Love Not War” button around here somewhere! Sometimes I think if we had a universal draft, maybe more thought would go into starting wars, and we’d be more peaceful. I guess that’s naive. People are just crazy, and I’m afraid we’re doomed to lose the race between becoming rational creatures and destroying ourselves. It’s too bad, because we can be so fun and beautiful, but human nature is what it is.

  97. consideredopinion says:

    Multiethnic multinational multiple-identity IDF, an example of modern globalism if there ever was one. Then again, it doesn’t seem like that has changed much since the First Crusade.

  98. zuzu says:

    They are all post high school 18-21 about. Anyone who wants out can do national service to avoid army and any girl and guys who do enough hours in yeshiva can exempt themselves by law.

    So there’s still no way to avoid by law socialization in a total institution?

    Either you’re brainwashed by the military, the para-military, or a religious cult?
    So much for individuality and autonomy.

  99. Duffong says:

    Cure for the common day of malaise and boredom: jewcy smoking hotness! Very natural, honest, and intimate photos. Great post.

  100. spazzm says:

    2 years? Jeez…

  101. zuzu says:

    What is worse, to have a military that is completely disconnected from most people or one where everyone’s child serves? Israel is much less likely to have stupid wars with no accountability

    Clearly you don’t remember two years ago when Israel invaded Lebanon.

  102. greensteam says:

    OMG! They are actual children! The pictures are beautiful but SO SAD. I completely agree with MGFarelly above. How can all this be anything but a disaster for the national psyche.

  103. buddy66 says:

    @JACK,

    ”Tom Hanks would simply have not been in the military at his age.”

    You’re wrong on that one. There were a lot if field unit officers in the Army for WW2, including two of my uncles, who were in their thirties. Hanks was supposed to be that age, that generation. I had a C.O., a reserve captain, who was thirty-six during Korea. And there was a First Sergeant who was probably older than that, but he wouldn’t admit to anything over ”Eternally 29.”

    Thanks for your take on Israel.

  104. zuzu says:

    Sometimes I think if we had a universal draft, maybe more thought would go into starting wars, and we’d be more peaceful. I guess that’s naive.

    I think you just summed up Starship Troopers.

    (Namely that civilian commanded armies start wars for political reasons. If the voting franchise — the exercise of political force — were reserved for people who had proven their willingness and ability to offer that force, would it be exercised more wisely?)

  105. MichaelRN says:

    Occupation 101. Seen it. Presented last year on campus by the student government and the honor society in an attempt to promote interfaith dialogue. All the usual suspects showed up, from the SDS lefties with their Anti-Flag t-shirts to the Hillel boys wearing yarmulkes and carrying notecards with carefully worded Hasbarah talking points.

    The post-viewing discussion quickly degenerated into a nasty shouting match with minds on all sides hermetically sealed. All the usual accusations and allegations from both sides were made with the requisite bile and venom. God forbid that one side should attempt to see the issues through the eyes of the other. Then the name-calling began; from the left, “Fascists!”, and from the right, “Savages!”, and so on…

    I left without saying anything. Over the years I have witnessed this scene play itself out, over and over again, in college conference rooms, public libraries and church basements. Well-intentioned organizers attempt to facilitate some sort of dialogue, and every time, it devolves into a catfight. Sort of like what’s about to happen here.

    The photos are still beautiful. I’m done.

    Go ahead, Gaspacho, have the last word.

  106. avidd says:

    Mandatory is not totally accurate. Super conservative orthodox Jews can get out of service on religious grounds. Ironic that moderate Israelis get to serve on their behalf.

  107. avidd says:

    @14 GREENSTEAM
    They are 18+ years old, like in the US army…

  108. Jack says:

    @75 POSTED BY BUDDY66:
    Thanks for the thanks, but regarding this:

    You’re wrong on that one.

    Stephen Ambrose would have to disagree with that. In fact, he’s been very vocal about the fact that Tom Hanks was too old:

    “You gotta get rid of Tom Hanks. He’s too old to have been a Ranger captain.” Spielberg yelled, “You’re funny. Next.” Spielberg and Hanks will soon be working on two Iwo Jima films. Did Ambrose have any suggestions for Spielberg? Yes. “Get rid of Hanks. He’s too old to be an ensign.” Spielberg offered a compromise. He promoted Hanks.

  109. TJIC says:

    re: @10 posted:

    > It’s chilling to see young people who would be in college or starting jobs at their age, holding huge rifles.

    On the contrary, I think it’s chilling to see adults who would otherwise be earning a living, defending their country, or otherwise contributing value wasting four years of their lives (for the most part) in pursuit of mostly worthless academic credentials.

    (Yes, for the record, I was graduated with a double major from an Ivy League school…and the more distance I get from it, the more clear it is that the craze for college credentials is hugely wasteful and mostly silly.)

  110. rebdav says:

    Having been on a SWAT team when I was younger and more limber and a Rabbi in Israel now it is sort of funny having these young women(and men) come to our house for shabbos sporting their M-16′s and even a Tavor rifle sometimes. Our kids go nuts for it. They are all post high school 18-21 about. Anyone who wants out can do national service to avoid army and any girl and guys who do enough hours in yeshiva can exempt themselves by law.

  111. daveed says:

    great series of fotos. those young women are magnificent.

  112. goethean says:

    Using armaments sppld by th Rpblcns t kp th cml-jcks n ln is hard work!

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