Thursday, July 20, 2006

been meaning to write about the latest war, so many thoughts, emotions and concerns... so apologies if this seems a tad muddled.

I have 2 (very young) cousins who are both doing their army service at the moment and are currently somewhere unspecified in the north of Israel. They told their mum that it is a bit noisy...

I'm not sure if the relationship Israel has with the army is something that is really understood here. After high school everyone has to do army service. And you constantly see soliders about the place, using public transport, hanging out, visiting their parents on their leave, going to and from their bases. Every Israeli parent hopes that when the time comes for their child to do the army, it will all be different. There will be peace and no need for national conscription. Here in the UK, the army is remote, not really involved in general society. In israel, the army and soldiers are emeshed in the society. So hearing that a soldier has been kidnapped has a very different resonance. Because it could easily be your child, cousin, neighbour, annoying kid who lives up the road and played his music too loud... and they need to get home.

Israel has to protect its borders, its soldiers and its citizens. And in showing strength, it is losing the PR battle, and possibly creating more long-term problems and potential recruits for hate. I'm uncomfortable with my knee-jerk reaction to the news as reported here in the UK, feeling cynical about how are they covering the deaths on both sides. I am concerned that Israel's case may or may not be adequately expressed. But I don't want to lose my humanity and be cold to the suffering in Lebanon. Like the shaigetz says (its the post headed 'hippocracy' - not sure how to link to just that), the Jewish tradition has within it the importance of feeling pain of the loss of life. Any life.


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