Musings about War

At a school production this week, I was shocked by the cavalier attitude of the students towards war and weapons. This raised the question, how should children be educated about war and the Israeli army?

On the one hand, it seems pretty obvious that children should be taught that war is a necessary evil to be avoided at all costs, and that peace in the Middle East is the ultimate goal. Many Israelis dream about the day when 18-year-olds will not be drafted into the army.

On the other hand, the Israeli army is one of the symbols of the success of Zionism and the Jewish State. Israelis and Diaspora Jews are proud of the skills and technology of the army. Tourists take pictures of soldiers and buy army souvenirs to take home with them. The army symbolizes the “new Jew” who is not a victim but a courageous fighter defending his country.

Teaching children to be proud of the achievements of the Israeli army means that they are also absorbing a certain attitude which glorifies war.  So how do we strike a balance?

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