In the whole time I was in Palestine and Israel the only times I ever felt threatened, nervous or insecure was near Israeli police and soldiers. 15 years ago I was in Tower Records in Tel Aviv and 2 young soldiers stood next to me looking through cds while on duty. It was strange then and it is strange now. In Israel, everywhere soldiers are on the move. Its like scouts but with guns. It like something out of the Paul Verhoven film, Starship Troopers. Beautiful, fresh faced, young men and women, IDF issue Tavor assault rifle in one hand and smartphones in the other, all “doing their part!, knowing their foe!, guaranteeing citizenship!” because at the end of the day, “its us or them”
The idea that an 18 year old with a gun has the power to harass and disrespect civilians often much older and wiser than them leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.
For me military service here is more about protecting a lie than protecting citizens. Imagine a reality where young men and women are indoctrinated with the idea that they are defending their country when all they’re really doing is supporting a decades long colonisation project. It almost doesn’t seem real. Almost.