As the Israeli mother of two sons, now 19 and 22, I have attended a great many ceremonies at school, camp, and now, the army. Yesterday my husband and I drove down to the desert and sat in a grandstand as my son and 128 other young men and women stood on the parade ground in 41C degree (105F!)heat to receive their non-commissioned officer stripes in the artillery corps. And once again, as always happens at these events, we were struck by one of the wonderful anomalies of our "military" existence. The music.
Almost all the songs played while the soldiers march are songs about peace. About the end of war. About how glorious it will be when we can take off our uniforms and live in peace. About flowers in the barrels of our guns. About using destroyers to transport oranges. About the dove with the olive branch.
This is why, when we hear international media reports of massacres, we know who to believe. We know how we have educated our children from pre-school. We know what songs they have been singing.
If you want to know the truth -- listen to the music.
We know of the reservist guys who took up a collection from their own pockets and gave a Palestinian family 2000 shekels to repair the hole they had to break in the wall of their house when looking for terrorists. We know the guys who rolled up the carpets and washed the floor of the house they had to occupy, so they could return it in good condition to its owners. We know the soldiers who volunteered to give blood to help the Arab civilians that were wounded during a battle. We know them because they are our sons and our husbands and brothers, and because we know what songs they have been singing all their lives, even when being awarded military honors.
I am certain there are exceptions to this rule, that not every soldier is noble and moral, that some abuse their power, that a few may even enjoy brutality. But they are rejected by the mainstream. Boys in the army are constantly lectured on "The Purity of Arms," and how a soldier must be a moral person. This is a long tradition, from before the rise of the State, and has remained our tradition through all the wars forced upon us, and even during this long dispute, which, if anyone does his homework, will realize is the result of yet another war forced upon us which we refused to lose.
This is why the Israeli army is what it is. And this is why evidence showing us babies being brought up on blood and bombs and suicide and Jihad makes us only feel more strongly the morality of fighting for our little corner of the world.
If you want to know the truth -- listen to the music. It's loud and clear.