Half the country screams at draft dodgers. The other half dodges the draft. Naturally, Arabs are not fond of serving in the Israeli army; it’s not even about it being a Jewish army, but about the primitive people’s dislike for any kind of organization. Palestinian Arabs revolted against Ibrahim Pasha in the early nineteenth century over conscription. Conscripting them, however, is the best way to crush their opposition to the Israeli regime; as a bonus for Jews, Israeli Arabs should be forced to fight their Palestinian brethren. Leftists imagine that Israeli Arabs are loyal to the state—fine, let us see their loyalty. At a minimum, let the Arabs dig trenches along Israel’s border with Egypt. Or keep marching them from Galilee to Eilat and back. Whatever.
Haredi Jews, derogatorily called ultra-Orthodox, are a similar matter. They continue to exploit their original agreement with Ben Gurion, which is now irrelevant. Ben Gurion lifted the draft requirement for just 400 students of yeshivas; now all haredim are students. Their religious justification, that studying the Torah takes priority over other societal obligations, is nonsense: most are not full-time students, and anyway they could still disrupt their studies for two or three years for the army service. Besides, Jewish society just doesn’t need so many rabbis. Hillel and Maimonides somehow managed to work, and certainly modern haredim can follow in their footsteps. The draft-dodging is also immoral, as the haredim enjoy the armed protection of the very Israelis they consider sub-Jews. And haredim do need the protection: the first modern pogroms in Palestine started in the nineteenth century, well before the advent of Zionism. If they don’t need the protection they should go settle in Hebron or Schem under Abbas’ jurisdiction.
But draft dodging raises a deeper problem. Theoretically, I won’t blame the parents who cut off their child’s finger to prevent him from joining the IDF. What’s the point of army service today? For the past twenty-five years, Israel has used her soldiers as small coins to pay the world media. Israel sends her soldiers into unnecessarily dangerous urban battles instead of leveling the enemy towns from the air; in WWII, the urban battle in Krakow was the lone exception. Israeli soldiers fight strategically useless battles, such as in the last days of the Second Lebanon war. Israeli soldiers engage strictly for the PR effect, such as the targeted assassinations and arrests in enemy territory. Israeli soldiers conduct senseless missions, such as the perpetual incursions into Gaza. Israeli soldiers are used against their own people, evicting teenagers from ramshackle “illegal outposts.”