Wednesday, June 06, 2007

She's in the army now

My daughter was drafted yesterday into the army. I thought there would be more fanfare - ceremonies, large crowds, music, speeches. There were just a few families there with their about-to-be-soldier daughters at the place where we were at in Jerusalem.

We (her father, boyfriend, sister and I) looked at the small crowd and joked that this is perhaps the “special needs unit” - low profiles, too overweight, too underweight, dysfunctional, dropouts, etc. She missed the “normal” profile by being underweight one kilo. Forget that she’s a soldier, don’t you just hate her for that?
But seriously, I never had so many phone calls from her that first day in the army as I had in 6 months. She called me up at 2:30 pm.

“They’re starting to be mean.”

“Of course they are. But you can handle ‘mean’. Where did you think you were going? To a spa?”

She’s a tough little one. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

The army is a rite of passage for most Israelis. It’s not something I’m thrilled about her doing but I let my children make their choices as long as they use them well. My two eldest daughters bypassed the army by telling the draft people they were religious and can’t serve. Actually they weren’t religious and my eldest daughter had piercings up the wazoo and bright red streaks in her hair when she was called up. She went to the rabbinical office to get them to give her a waiver, piercings and all. The Rabbi didn’t give two shits about it thankfully. He just didn’t want to see girls in the army so he hardly glanced at her and stamped the waiver. She and my 2nd daughter did national service instead.

But my third daughter’s friends have all been drafted and she felt she should go with the flow. Peer pressure. She won’t be a fighter and for that I’m thankful. She has Palestinian friends and knows about how to treat human beings that aren’t Jewish. And maybe if she lands up working a checkpoint or two, she’ll be more thoughtful, respectful and helpful than most of the soldiers you find at checkpoints. And that is a more comforting thought.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I am enjoying your diary and reading about your life in Israel. Too bad more people are not as accepting of Palestinians as you are.

Abdel Nur said...

God the Merciful could protect your daughter, forever.
I read you from Italy, I would translate something of your diary to the italian readers, and I would thank you for your encouraging sensibility. His Peace could be upon you.