• Arm Me
  • Arm Me
  • Arm Me
  • Arm Me
  • Arm Me

Arm Me

by added on 14 September 2015, No Comments on Arm Me , filed under Artistic Process (Israel)

Teens are enlisted into the army at 18. Three weeks after graduating highschool a person begins their army service. Boys serve for 3 years, girls serve for 2 years. They each get a 500 shekel/month per diem (aprox. $125 USD – could be 300 shekels, I don’t recall, exactly). Prior to starting their service, they are given several tests to determine where they will serve. At this time, they could also request a specific area (intelligence, air force, marines, etc). A person has a greater chance of getting in where they want if other siblings, parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) also served in that area. 

Ninety percent of women are trained as secretaries. Women are prohibited from serving in the army as soldiers, or “boots on the ground” because they pose a security risk by becoming a target for the enemy. (explanation requires further research)

After finishing the obligatory 2 or 3 years of service, a person does one week of training every year, and a couple weeks, or a full month every three years, until they’re 40 (mostly guys because women can get out of it easier if they’re married or have a kid). About a year ago, I spoke to a single woman in Jerusalem doing her PhD in chemistry at Hebrew University. She was still being recalled every year and every three years. Since she is religiously observant, they assigned her to ambulance service (religious law dictates you can’t generally work on shabbat but you can work to save a life.). She was pretty bitter about the army’s cleverness. If a guy is a family man and fully employed, he still gets recalled. 

When a person is recalled, employers continue to pay an employee’s salary, which the army compensates to the employer. Employers in Israel basically lose staff for 1-4 weeks on a regular basis. Though they don’t lose the salary for this person, they are missing the productivity that this person contributes to the business. 

To get out of serving in the army, a person must be deemed ‘unfit’ to serve. A woman could get married/pregnant. Saying your religious works. If you don’t show up at the army on the day specified, the army will arrest you and throw you in prison. You’ll likely lose any court battles and serve a couple of years in jail.

There is a general consensus in the public that the army does enough PR to attract people to join without forcing people to do it. The notion of being forced into the army is a sore spot with most people.

To integrate into civil society after completing army service, many Israelis travel to India and spend six months smoking hash.


Also see:
Refusenik Omri Evron: “Why I can’t become a soldier in the IDF”

‘War Heroes’ by Tzipi Lustig

In this work I explore the psychological aspects of soldiers during and after battle. Obedient, honest, loyal soldiers, “salt of the earth”, who swore allegiance to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and to the State of Israel – conformists and well tamed. Messengers of the Lord of Wars, going out with wide shut eyes to obey orders. The work “War Heroes” was born during Operation Protective Edge (2014). I present my concept through images that look like pets wearing helmets, with their innocent and submissive look.  I chose to cast them in concretethe material used for the rebirth and building of the State of Israel. During my work on War Heroes, I was exposed to the website, “Shrapnels and Fragments” (“RESSISSIM”), a project which deals with the lasting emotional impact on the soldiers after combat; I was shocked by the stories told by soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

– Tzipi Lustig