a forwarded letter...
On this morning's dose of the Israeli press I found the following
unfolding a horrible tale of mass rape by Israeli soldiers in 1949.
The article is in Hebrew, but the gist of this sordid story is that
entire army post participated in the capture of a young Bedouin Arab
cut off her hair and used her as their sex slave - and then executed
They were tried for the crime, but the trial was classified a state
secret, and only uncovered now, more than years after the fact.
Now, I grew up in Israel, and of course the history lessons included
many references to the high moral standards of the Israeli army
(hereinafter: the IDF) and the terrible things done by the various
armies. They shot women and children, they poisoned the wells of
they tried to conquer, they raped women if they managed to catch
they tortured their Israeli prisoners mercilessly, before catching
In the past three or four years I have found Israeli historical
showing that the Israeli army indulged in every single one of those
behaviors (and worse ones, too). In other words, the main reason that
Arab armies were presented to Israeli schoolchildren as subhuman and
uncivilized were invalid, because they applied equally to the IDF.
And if the Arab countries and their armies are no worse than the
ones, the reason for the wars must be something other than what the
are taught, which amounts, more or less, to "keep Israelis safe from
horrible barbarians". Jews in Arab countries were treated much, much,
better than Arabs in the occupied territories, and rather better than
Arab-Israeli citizens. Territorial attacks are based on a historical
requirements which Israel has flouted repeatedly.
So, is all this a secret? Why is it that the Israelis cannot (will
the logical fallacy behind their own education? Is it something
was then, this is now"? Why are they afraid to know the truth and act
These questions have pertinence mostly with regard to the Israel-
debate, and it stretches (perhaps to breaking point) Israel's
willingness to believe their government and authorities. Preliminary
responses to this story have been stormy. Right wingers are angry at
for having published the story. Left wingers have asked why they'd
cheated into believing the Israeli army was so moral in '48 - and
being hidden in 2003.
This is an improvement. Most of the mainstream Israeli discourse
point has assumed that if anything negative is said about the Israeli
it is a result of anti-Semitism. This is the first time I see people
not from the extreme left question the fundamental behavior by the
It'll be interesting to watch - unless attention is distracted by
means of a
NOTE: The next day the English version of Haaretz printed the story
with modifications to tone down the brutality of the IDF.
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