Thursday, November 01, 2012

Traitor or Refusenik

I'm stepping over all these soldiers' duffle bags this morning, dumped in the aisle, trying to get off the bus. They're all going back to their base from home. My son is now in military jail and I get different responses from people, depending on their politics. I hear my left wing and Palestinian friends tell each other excitedly "Do you know her son is a Refusenik!!" and suddenly I'm a hero, even though I live over the green line. My right wing friends and family are disgusted with him because he's wasting his life because he's not serving his country. He's a traitor in some of their eyes. Some say you can't even find work if you don't have army service on your CV. I think that's mostly my concern more than any others...

Truth is - he's neither a traitor nor a Refusenik. He just wants money. He's nearly 21 years old and doesn't want to earn a soldier's measly salary of $100 a month. If he's a combat soldier, it jumps to a giant $200/month. He's not combatting anyone and so it's $100 only. While AWOL he found people willing to hire him for sporadic waiter jobs in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. They coudln't care less about AWOL soldiers.

Life is fun in military jail - they do nothing during the day and at night, he and his 3 roomies watch either soccer or whatever film is on the national station. The food is edible with chocolate spreads and pudding for breakfast, which he doesn't even get at home. But he's itching to go out and work because "girls will only go out with me if I have a car." Even here in the Middle East,the chicks are spoiled.

Lately, I've heard that there's an army program which lets you work for 9 days and then do army for 5 days. The program is called 9/5 or something like that. Looks like there'll be some compromise and he'll be neither a "refusenik" or a "traitor" to his country.

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