Harris, USA

June 28, 2011

As a Jewish Officer in the US military, I found a fair amount of prejudice…. I expected this from the enlisted ranks, but it was prevalent even among the Officer ranks….that’s something you don’t have to worry about in the IDF, but I’m wondering what you feel are some of the difficulties in serving as an IDF soldier…..

Hi Harris,

It’s a pleasure to speak with a distinguished officer in the US military. I am disappointed to hear that you faced such palpable prejudice while completing your service. Undoubtedly, I’m certain most of the discrimination you faced was based on ignorance or misinformation about the Jewish people, and I hope that you were able to educate some of the individuals in the higher ranks of the US military about your Jewish heritage.

Some of the challenges I saw in the Israeli military included balancing the secular-religious conflict of military service. This certainly includes missions that were executed in the West Bank area involving conflicts between Settlers and Palestinians, of which we were mandated to act as impartiality as possible. This proved to be extremely difficult and often lead to situations where IDF soldiers were subjected to verbal and physical attacks by Settlers and Palestinians alike.

Furthermore, political views sometimes play an important role in the actions of soldiers here, which lead to difficult challenges to manage. As you know, soldiers are expected to suppress their political views while performing a mission. However, there have been several cases where soldiers have refused orders to evacuate settlers on one side, while others refuse to serve in the Palestinian territories because of their views on the Israeli presence there.

Please stay in touch, I would love to hear about your service and any other questions you might have for me. Wishing you health and happiness in 2011.

Avi

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