My Jewcy thoughts on a proposed law in Israel which will would equalize its military conscription, provide the option of national service (Sherut Leumi), and punish those who refuse to serve.
I think the law is well-intentioned but misguided. Giving people multiple ways to actively participate in the welfare of the state is indeed a step in the right direction – a trajectory leading to a society in which sizable minorities (like Arabs and Orthodox Jews) are not disconnected and alienated from the whole.
But this cannot be done with a sword hanging over people’s heads. Part of the problem in Israel is that we suffer from an excess of army logic: Stick before carrot. Perhaps this law is a reflection of a society in flux—one that recognizes that the army is not for everyone but still uses draconian measures to carry that insight forward.
People behind this law explain that the punishment is simply a preventative means. Yet it seems to me that what we have here is an old style herem (excommunication), aimed at appealing to the large segment of Israeli society that resents and wants to punish those who do not go to the army. It is the labor party’s way of saying: “We are just as tough, pro-army, and patriotic as Likkud.”
To read the rest, please click here. Feel free to share your thoughts with the Jewcy community by adding your comments after the article.