Israeli Veterans Break Their Silence on Life in the Occupied Territories
In 2001, when I was 18, I joined the #Israeli_Defense_Forces
(IDF) to undertake my three years of military service. There was nothing unconventional about me. I was born in West Jerusalem, a practicing Orthodox Jew in a family that leaned to the right. My cousins were settlers; I attended a Yeshiva (a religious high school) in a settlement in the West Bank; my sister is a settler today.
But by the time I was finishing my life as a combat soldier—as a company sergeant in the infantry—I was questioning most of the military actions I had taken part in. The day I stopped thinking like a soldier I looked in the mirror and saw a different person. And it was terrifying.
Soldiers are consumed with their orders and missions, and the overwhelming priority is to protect the comrades they are serving alongside. I spent two years in the #West_Bank, more than half the time in Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the region.
When I started planning what I wanted to do after I left the army, the reflexes I developed as a soldier were weakened. There was a strong sense that something was wrong, but I couldn’t articulate it. I turned to the only people who could possibly understand: my brothers in the barracks. We talked about what we had seen on the West Bank and what we had done, and I found that most of us felt the same.
We realized that the people back home in Israel had no clue about what was happening in the #Occupied_Territories. Our idea was make them understand by bringing Hebron to Tel Aviv, and that was how Breaking the Silence started.....
#israel #army @reka