[MUSIC] Welcome back. Visitors travelling around Israel often comment on the visible presence of people in military uniforms. In Israel, every citizen must serve in the army when completing his or her high school studies. Men serve a mandatory period of three years and women serve two. For many, military service has been a route to upward mobility, an opportunity for them to expand their social networks and to see the parts of Israeli society, that they haven't encountered at home. Traditionally, the Israeli army took part in the process of state and society building. During their service, new immigrants learned to speak Hebrew and become Israelis. Military projects allow lower class soldiers a second chance to study what they had missed in school due to difficult economic situation at home. And soldiers were recruited to provide education and other civic services to new immigrants in the Israeli periphery. For better or worse, the Israeli defense forces, IDF, became a melting pot turning people from very different backgrounds into a single and allegedly homogenous society. Being a general in the IDF, also secured a successful civil career for an individual. Military prestige was an important requirement for those seeking political careers, and for those looking for top management positions in the public and private sectors. However, not everybody serves. As I mentioned in our previous class, Arabs are exempted from the service. Religious women are exempted as well, although many choose to volunteer. Jews, including both men and women have also been exempted for many years. In recent years, however, an attempt has been made to recruit young Orthodox men, who are not engaged in religious studies. What are the consequences of these mandatory universal drafts of young men and women who give their prime years to the Army? What are the consequences for those who skip military service altogether in society that sees such service as signs of loyalty. I have asked Professor Edna Lomsky-Feder to talk with us about these questions. Lomskey-Feder is a professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and at the School of Education here at the Hebrew University. Her research interests include [INAUDIBLE] nationalism, war, and military from a cultural perspective. Anjana Jindal and their transition to adulthood including personal narratives. She is currently working on a project with Orna Sasson-Levy that examines the meaning of military service in the life stories of young Israeli women. >> Imagine a situation in which two youngsters, a man and a woman who live in the Western world of our time, are required by law to serve in the army for two or three years. They have just finished high school, and they are looking forward to break free from family supervision and go out in the real world. Just at this moment, which signifies freedom and celebration of views, young Israeli Jews are required to serve in the army for a significant period of time. What that suspension of the natural course of life at the age of 18 really means how does the experience of taking part in highly important national missions influence young people. What are the future implications of participating in essentially violent activity at such a young age. Before delving into these questions, I will provide some background information on military service in Israeli society. The IDF was established in 1948. It was founded on the of people's army that served the universalistic ideology of the modern nation state. Thus, when Jewish Israeli men and women turn 18, they are drafted to the army under the Defense Service Law. Men serve for three years and women serve for two. In this manner, military service defines the boundaries of the national collective, and is perceived as the ultimate expression of individual's commitment to the state. As Israel is frequently involved in armed conflicts, the militarization processes of Israeli society has been accelerating over the years. This process intensified after the Six Day War in 1967, which led to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The ongoing occupation, unwilling of a large civilian population brought on a change in the IDF missions. It now included a component of policing and confronting armed civilian resistance. The permanent conflict demands an excessive physical and emotional price on the personal and family living. And Israeli Society is gradually losing tolerance for it. On top of all this, the processes of individualization in the western world have penetrated Israeli Society. And in the last three decades, the grasp of the collective ideology has weakened. These processes have undermined the social consensus regarding the military and have direct influence on the ethos of contribution and on the youngsters' motivation to serve. Critical voices from the left side of the political map, as well as of the right side are entering the public sphere and challenging the expected social solidarity and the identification with the People's Army. This being said, there seem to be very few active expressions of resistance for the Army and refusing to serve for moral reasons is rare and perceived as illegitimate in Israeli society. Let's return to our two youngsters who have just been called up. The transition from civilian life to military service is likely to be difficult for them, but we must also keep in mind, that they have been preparing for this moment from a very young page. They have been prepared formally and informally in various circles of life, the family, the education system, and the media have all been part of this process. Military service is constructed in Israeli society as a key scenario of growing up In becoming an adult. In other words, over the years, military service is shaped as a natural and obvious state of life. And thus we find a high commitment to serve. Nevertheless, more and more youngsters have begun evaluating military service in terms of personal benefit rather than contribution to the state. Due to the compulsory military service in Israel, the soldiers come from a wide range of social groups and classes. With different expectations, diversified world views and distinct culture capital. The military selection mechanism places him in different posts according to the organization's need and based on their personal skills. While the needs of the military organization are the dominant placement factor, the IDF understands that it takes more than a law to gain the youngsters' commitment. As the ethics of contribution to the state is being eroded, the army must also respond to the youngsters' personal expectations. Thus the process of equipment is based on an informal contract between the army and the soon to be soldiers. The army promises to offer posts that meet the new recruits' expectations and in return the youngsters commit to the army for two or three years. To conclude, despite the changes that have taken place over the years, the military's prestige, and the fact that it is involved in ongoing active conflict at home, granted central significance and civic participation. Moreover, the fact that this experience takes place during formative stage of life combined with the nature of the military organization, its total institution strengthened the impact military service has on life of Israeli youngsters. In order to understand this impact I will take the following steps. I will begin by presenting several theoretical approaches regarding the social significance of military service and its effect on the connection between individual and society. Then I'll present a number of empirical studies that explore the personal meaning of the service experience. And focus mostly on studies that dealt with the implification of military service on gender identity and perception of citizenship. Finally, I will collect this empirical insights and provide general conclusions regarding the inference of military service from the youngster's perspective. Let us begin with the theory. There are two central theoretical approaches that discuss the meaning of military service. The first is a functional approach which regards drafting as a mechanism that promotes social equality and solidarity. According to this approach, the army is a social melting pot that modified social inequality and grants those who come from marginalized groups an opportunity of social mobility. In contrast, the critical approach perceives compulsory service If a mechanism that reinforces existing gender, class, and ethnic based power relations, within the army and beyond it. From the recruit's point of view, military service is not an opportunity for social mobility. But rather, it reproduces their position in the social hierarchies. These two opposed approaches have common ground. They both see military service as an effective socialization tool for generating national committment. But each theory interprets it differently. While the functional approach sees the national identity of the youngsters, it's a mechanism that promises the smooth integration into the adult civic society, the critically approach perceives it as a mechanism, that silences the critical thinking, and encourages compliance with no resistance and without developing and promoting alternative and change. Now that we have obtained these theoretical groups, let's move to empirical studies. The following studies examine the meaning of military experience as perceived by the Israeli youngsters. We will use them to zoom in on the complex and multidimensional picture of the military experience. This focus of observations will enable us to see pieces of this picture in a more detailed and lovely manner. I will begin with a study I conducted together with Professor Oma Sasson-Levy which explored the meaning of military service among young women. We interviewed 210 young women in the service from various ethnic background. And ask them to tell us about their military experience and its influence on their lives. During the interview they examined the service in retrospect. This allowed us to collect rich and interesting material on the meaning of the service as they perceived it and interpreted it. You may wonder why I choose to start exploring the influence of military experience with women, if the military is organization that is mostly staffed by men. My answer is that it is important and interesting to focus on women for a number of reasons. First, Israel is the only state in the western world that drafts women and therefore, women constitute about a third of the IDF regular soldiers which is higher than all other western armies. Yet, although the IDF has undergone gender reforms and most military positions are officially open to both genders, most women still serve in roles that culturally defined as feminine. Secondly, we must once again remember that military service in Israel is not a choice women make. At the prime of their lives they are obligated by law to spend two years in an organization that glorifies men and marginalizes women by definition. The army is historically and culturally identified with masculinity and military service in combat units is defined as hegemonic masculinity in Israeli society. For this reason the army is perceived as hyper-masculine organization that formally and informally emphasizes male superiority and shapes much organizational culture. In light of this background, it is especially interesting to examine how serving in hyper masculine organization, at such a early informative stage of life, Shapes the young women's gender and civic identity. However, we should not see women's military service as unified and homogenous experience. If these experiences differ according to the military roles, thus, serving a secretary is very different from serving as an education officer or as a combatant. We will begin our discussion with women who served as secretaries because the secretarial position is a cultural icon of the women's inferiority in the military. The military's secretary's often mocked in Israel culture. Popular songs, movies, and TV series repeatedly present her as a bimbo, as a submissive sexual object who's military service is limited to provide services to her male commander. Despite the negative image, we found surprisingly two contrasting narratives among women who served as secretaries. The first, as expected, perceived the service as a humiliating experience, but the second described it as an empowering experience. Further reading of those women's stories showed that these two narratives will not distribute it randomly. But they will relate it to the women's social background and to their contract with the military. Women from lower social class who grew up in periphery and came from traditional families in which they were often the first women to serve found their military service in secretarial posts enriching and inspiring. They use phrases like "peak point in life", "a dream come true," "a turning point" to describe the service. This interpretation derived from the nature of their unwritten contract with the military. Their conduct emphasises the opportunity to leave home under the protection of the state, to gain independence and autonomy from the family and to achieve a sense of respectability, which links between personal and national identity. For them therefore, the military service itself was the main goal. Why the nature of the military role was a secondary issue. Why the women who were aware of their imaginative position in the army as secretaries. They felt that their service was important as it established the identification with the state in the sense of value as citizens. Thus from their perspective, the service met their expectations in their contract with the military [INAUDIBLE]. This was not the case, however, with the middle class women who served as secretaries. Unlike the lower class women, these young women grew up with a clear sense of entitlement to self fulfilment, manifested in their expectation of good assignment in the military. In other words, they expected a military role that would reflect their privileged social position, their egalitarian gender perceptions and their personal skills. It is against this background that we should understand the depths of their disappointment when they were assigned a secretarial role. They experienced the placement as secretary as personal insult, and a severe violation of their contract with the military. When describing this chapter of their lives even a decade later, they used terms like despair, suffering, and even trauma. The military experience weakened their commitment to the people's army, and some even expressed objection to military service, especially for women. In contrast to the young middle class women who served as secretaries, their peers were placed in prestigious military roles felt differently, if their service make their [INAUDIBLE] with the military. For example, women who served in a high status feminist post, like welfare or education NCO, learned to accept, even enjoy these traditional roles as the male soldiers care takers. Serving in this positions strengthened the commitment to the military organization and their connection to the state. And they did not develop any gender critical perspective. Women who served in traditionally masculine roles usually developed also deep identification with the military. But they had completely different gender experience. During the service, they were pushed to adopt masculine behaviors and to blur their femininity in order to cope with the challenges this post presented. However, behaviors that were encouraged during service were disapproved of in civilian life. When released from the military, they were pressured to return to a proper femininity. Thus crossing the gender lines back and forth raised the gender awareness and they learned to question traditional gender constructions. In conclusion, the interviews revealed that the general and civic experiences vary according to the nature of the military rule. Moreover, the meaning of those experiences differ according to the women's' class contract with the army And whether it was fulfilled or violated. We will now turn to our second empirical spotlight. A study conducted by Professor Michal Krumer-Nevo in. The study dealt with male and female soldiers who were born in Caucasus, a muslim area in the former USSR. The Caucasian community in Israel, is a marginalized and disadvantaged group. The study is of interest for two reasons. First, it compares between men and women from the same social group. Second, Israel is an immigrant society. Perceived military service is a ticket to become a true Israeli and is essential mechanism of social integration for newcomers. Based on interviews with 153 soldiers from this social group, the researchers explode where the military service did indeed improve the social status or it is merely reconstructed the econoclass marginality. The study showed that most employees served in low status posts. This trend was especially evident among men. Most men served as cooks or drivers and only few were in combat units. None were promoted to officer posts. According to this data, it seems clear that military service is not an arena of social mobility. On the contrary, the marginality of this group was reinforced and strengthened. But when we're examining the integration of Caucasian soldiers from a gender perspective, things become more interesting. Compared to men, women showed more content with their service. They interpreted service as a more significant experience and saw the chances of promotion within the military framework as higher. An expression with gender differences was also found in behavioral patterns. The men tend to present much more discipline issues, adaption difficulties. And many of them spent some time in military prison. How can we explain these differences? They don't seem to be consistent with the claim that the army is a masculine organization that discriminates against women. According to the researchers, the explanation lies in gender hierarchy of the army, which is damaging, not only women, but also to non-combat male soldiers from lower class backgrounds. These men were placed in the margin of the masculine military hierarchy which is dominated by the combat soldier. Being a combat soldier is ultimate expression of the willingness, mental capacity, and physical ability to sacrifice oneself for the state. Not only is the combat soldier's masculinity socially approved, he is also perceived as the ultimate citizen. Men who successfully pass this test and serve in combat units are highly rewarded in Israeli society. This is a clear and commonly recognized test for manhood, against which young Israeli men are measured. As we have seen, most Caucasian men don't pass it if they served in a blue collar post at the bottom of the male military hierarchy. So the army did not only reconstructed this male, social marginality, it also reinforced their masculine inferiority. Thus, the lack of discipline, which was expressed in defection, detention, or dropping out, should not be examined as personal or social unsuitability alone. Critical researchers see these behaviors as expression of resistance against the marginalizing military organization. This resistance Is a demonstration of [INAUDIBLE] masculinity, which undermines and challenges the norms of self control and obedience that characterize the combat soldier. The Caucasian men paid a high social price because of their social and symbolic inferiority in the army, while the women suffered less in comparison. Like many women in the military, they were placed in traditional gender roles and did not feel their femininity was threatened. The main expectation, like other women from lower class backgrounds, was to leave home under state protection and experience civic respectability. And this they have achieved. Thus, in comparison to men, they were content with their military service. They presented a greater committment and felt more connected to the Israeli identity. So far, we have examined what military service means to marginalized groups, women and low class immigrants. Now, we will turn to the group most valued in the army, male combat soldiers. By studying this group, we will try to better understand the long term implications of being directly involved in military violence. To do so, we will use a paper written by Professor Guy Grossman and his colleagues. This study set out to examine how combat service in the occupied territories influences soldiers' political stance. The main focus was how combat service affects their perspective on negotiation and compromise as the tools to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two contrasting hypotheses can be presented here. One, if that exposure to violence and its consequences lead to moderate attitude toward the use of force and influence combatants to prefer negotiation and compromise. The other is that exposure to violent conflict strengthens distrust toward the enemy, intensifies feelings such as aggression and revenge, and increases the belief that there is no partner. As a result, combatants will tend to choose force as a mean for conflict resolution. The researchers disputed questionnaires to 2,334 Jewish Israeli men who served in combat and non-combat posts between the years of 1998 and 2012. The effect of combat was tested by presenting questions regarding attitude toward the conflict. The questions examined willingness to give up the occupied territory as part of negotiations, attitudes towards Palestinians, refugees, human rights organizations, etc. The study also investigated voting patterns. The findings showed that combat soldiers have significantly lower tendency to support negotiation as a mean to solve the conflict. The soldiers also defined themselves as more right-wing on the left to right scale. The right-wing tendency included political stance and voting patterns, and it continued long after military service. These influences were apparent amongst soldiers who come from different political backgrounds. At this point, it is interesting to mention that in contrast to our expectations, soldiers who came from distinct right-wing backgrounds, slightly moderated their views regarding the use of force. Let us now return to the opening questions of this lecture. What can these Swiss studies teach us about the significance and influence of military service on Israeli Jewish youngsters? How does this experience shape the gender awareness and civic identity? I wish to offer three central arguments in relation to the influence of military service on the Israeli youngsters. First, the military experience is diversified experience from a gender perspective. It should not be examined as either empowering or oppressive but as an experience that encompasses both processes for men and for women. Second, military service is a significant experience in terms of civic identity. But its influences don't only establish one's connection to the state. It can also undermine one's trust in state institutions. Finally, even though the military service may create distrust in state institutions, it rarely generates resistance and alternative but rather silences political protest. And they developed these arguments in the last section of the lecture. The static study show that military service is a highly significant arena of general identity construction and that it's influence resonates through life. They also show the cultural gender experience is multifaceted both for men and for women and that it is deeply connected to the civic identity. We saw, for example, that although the army is hyper masculine organization, not all men benefit from their military experience. The clear and rooted masculine hierarchy harms many groups of men who don't successfully meet the criteria of combat's masculinity. In contrast, despite gender power relations, there are women who receive an opportunity to cross gender lines and serve as combatant roles. Nevertheless, this is not a characteristic military scenario for women, as most are placed in feminine roles. Some women experience these roles as empowering and enriching. Others experience them as insulting and alienating, especially if they are placed in a low-status post like being a military secretary. If you look back at the theoretical approaches we opened this lecture with, they both appear to be too one-dimensional. The depiction of the military as promoter of social and gender equality rather is arena we construct, existing power relations is not enough. This contractualization do not satisfactory account for the variety and diversity of the military experiences among young men and women. Instead, we should relate to the intersectionality between gender, ethnicity and class. By doing so, we reveal a more complex social map. It enables us to gain a closer and more detailed look at the influence of the military service. It allows us to examine the Army as an organization that encompasses simultaneously process of inclusion and exclusion of men and women. It's an arena that includes both processes of social mobility and social production for marginal and dominant groups. Just like the gender experience, the civic experience is also diverse. Military service forces young Israelis to be active citizens. And indeed, many of them develop a profound sense of identification with the military and with the state. Yet, at the same time, research shows that military service sometimes fractured civic commitment and it erodes identification with the army. These feelings mostly arise when the service does not meet the soldiers' expectations. Because of the army's central role in society, military service has significant influence on one's personal life. The youngsters know and understand the power of military has as rewording or labeling force. So where the cost of military service does not meet their expectations, when the army does not placing in part that suits their personal skills in social class, the seat is a contract violation. This undermines the commitment to the army and gives rise to criticism against the state. For example, we saw that middle class women and lower class men developed a stance of resistance and criticism toward the Army when the service harmed the gender identity. The studies showed that resistance and criticism mostly addressed the oppressive elements of the army as a rigid and hierarchy based organization. Sometimes criticism also related to the chauvinistic culture that harasses women. Nonetheless, the youngsters rarely voiced political criticism or moral protest. Moreover, the critical voices among the young Israelis hardly ever translate into public action or social movements. They turn to the state with explicit demands regarding military service. The 2011 social protest in Israel, which was led by youngsters who demanded social justice from the state, stands out in this context. One of the central messages in the protest was that the state had not honored its basic social contract with the young people. They served in the army yet they did not receive the right to lead a respectable life in return. There was a general atmosphere of unfair conduct by the state, which according to the protestors violated the balance between civic duties and civic rights. But even in this protest, the demand for justice remains with the boundaries of the Jewish National Collective. There was a declared and clear attempt to separate social criticism from political criticism. The connection between social justice and occupation was intentionally avoided and denied. Political criticism of military conduct in the occupied territories was silenced in order to maintain a broad, common agreement in social solidarity. In the worst cases, of political criticism regarding morality of the army, the criticizers are usually men who served in combat units. The fact, they have followed this difficult public contract and served as combatants give them the social legitimacy to object to military action in the occupied territories and during armed conflicts. There are certain civic rights one receives only by serving at the top of the military masculine hierarchy. Indeed, most Israeli protest movement that criticized the army are led by men who have served in elite combat units. These critical voices are slowly turning into whispers, especially since the civilian uprising in the occupied territories. According to the research, in general, combat soldiers who were exposed to violent conflict in the territories >> Tend to support military operations. They do not believe in compromise and negotiations, if means to serve the conflict. This is in accord with broader processes in Israeli society, which is highly aware of the psychological and physical prices paid by young Israelis as result of the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. This prices pushed aside the moral and ethical aspects of the conflict while the dominant public discussion perceives the soldiers as victims of violence, and not as agents of violence. The self-image as a victims's produces more justification for an ongoing use of force, sustains the constant sense of emergency. And thus, silences critical voices regarding the always oppressive power toward Palestinians. The youngster's silence is not only the result of their identification with the military, it is also an expression of their desire to return to their normal life, which leads them to withdraw from political disputes. At the end of their military service, most young people wish mainly to become normal youngsters again just like their peers in the western world. They want to have fun and focus on themselves, and not be involved in national debates. This is clearly evidenced in the popular and common phenomenon of the Israeli backpackers traveling around the globe. They go to India, Thailand, Australia, South America and do the big trip as it's called in Israeli culture as a way to take a break and spend some time away from the Israeli society after intense and demanding. Thus, although military service does not always strengthen youngster's trust in state institutions, it does have the power to neutralize the potential political activism. It especially de-legitimizes political action against the army, which is perceived as the most prominent element of the Jewish Israeli solidarity. >> As we have learned, gender, ethnicity and class are among the features that shape Israeli soldier's experience of their military service. While the army attempts to help the states to narrow the institutionalized gender class and ethnicity and equalities, talks suggest that in many cases the services serve to reproduce social inequalities. In our next lesson, we will talk more about socioeconomic inequality. We will ask how the changes of Israeli society from a developing economy with a relatively generous welfare state to a new liberal economy have effected class inequality and the entrance of Israel into the global era.