How the Israel Defense Forces Got Dragged Into Israel’s Culture Wars

Israeli border police officers next to a supporter of Sgt. Elor Azaria during a demonstration by hardline nationalists outside the Israeli military court, Tel Aviv,  Jan. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Oded Balilty).
Israeli border police officers next to a supporter of Sgt. Elor Azaria during a demonstration by hardline nationalists outside the Israeli military court, Tel Aviv, Jan. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Oded Balilty).
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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have long enjoyed a unique role in Israeli life, unlike that in any other liberal democracy. The IDF is the most influential force in the national security decision-making process, the one “neutral” player that Israel’s fractious politicians are usually willing to heed. The IDF has also contributed significantly to the development of Israeli society and its national identity, helping forge Israel’s disparate immigrant communities into a still discordant, but fundamentally united whole. As Israel enters its 70th year, public trust in the IDF remains remarkably high, to the point that it has been referred to […]

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