Private Tamar Alon - Two Years of Mandatory Military Service for Israeli Women
hundreds of young women drafted today at the Tel-Hashomer military base for their two-year mandatory service.Young men and women from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds learn to live and wo
23-July-2009, Tel-Hashomer - There are many arguments for and against the mandatory draft in Israel. Those in favor claim the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) has an important role in Israeli society - in a land of immigration, the mandatory military service serves as the ultimate melting pot. Young men and women from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds learn to live and work together in an intensity that creates lasting friendships with people they might never have otherwise met. But the army is not for everyone. Many are not suited to serve in such a demanding enviornment and do not fullfill their potential in the duties they are given. Other national priorities like education are somewhat neglected due to the urgent national defense needs. The ethos surrounding military service stigmatizes those who avoid the draft and holds combat soldiers in the highest esteem. For most Israeli teenagers there is no dilemma. They grow up on the ethos and accept their mandatory service as a virtue rather than an obligation. They wouldn't have it any other way.
Such was the case with hundreds of young women drafted today at the Tel-Hashomer military base for their two-year mandatory service. Escorted by family and friends, except for a few tears of excitement, there was no one here that refused to board the buses that rolled in and out, one after the other.
Tamar Alon, 19, was one of these excited young women. Planning on being the equivalent of a military social worker, Tamar wishes "to help soldiers adjust, to help them sort out their personal problems and to enable them to serve better ". She has no doubt her services are necessary and will benefit the soldiers and the nation.
On her first weekend back home after just 48 hours of service, aside from blisters from her new shoes and exhaustion due to little sleep, Private Tamar was happy, content and anxious to begin basic training next week.