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Monday, 28 January 2008

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Thanks Mike,

I had never seen that whole portfolio before. Really great IMO.....

A wonderful portfolio....

Wow! What an eye opening portfolio. My daughter is 18 and enjoying life to the full in our carefree (mostly) UK society. She is fiesty and full of moral outrage at the world in which we live, perhaps a luxury for the free. Thank (God?) she doesn't have to do what the Israeli young woman are doing - though my mother was in the WRAF during the London blitz as a teenager herself. Peace and love!

I go to Israel a lot, and have female friends there who served in the military; I don't know of any who regret their time. I sort of wish my daughter had been required to do that -- for most women (and men too), it makes a change, I think, and for the better. It injects a note of deep seriousness into their life at a time when they are impressionable; it makes them think about what they're planning to do with their lives. It does not make them into militarists -- if anything, the opposite, and leaves them with a skepticism about the way the army works, its motives, etc. The images here are nice, but if you look in the background, and beyond the obvious, you see things like the fact that these trainees are in soft-drink shops, have rooms with rock n roll posters on the wall, etc -- not a heck of a lot different than college life, except that occasionally they go shoot a gun at a target. You should also know that after a period of training, that most women go home almost every weekend, and sometimes, if they're stationed near their home, virtually every day. Women who get pregnant before their army service is due, or during their army service, are exempted. Most of the resentment, frankly, is generated by the fact that they can't party when they wish, can't be home when they wish. Except for some security people (who are volunteers) women are not combat troops in Israel -- not even as much as they are in the American army. I think only one Israeli woman has been killed in combat since the War of Independence in 1948, although others have been killed in terrorist ambushes and rocket attacks that were primarily aimed at civilians. So it's not like they're front line troops. A good photo essay makes a point; the point in this one is obscure, though she sure picked some cute soldiers. (For those who might suspect differently, I've no ax to grind here: I'm neither a Jew nor a big defender of Israel; I travel there to work at an archaeological site: www.rehov.org)

JC

There were some really good-looking women there. Kind of saddening.

Am I the only one that thinks this set would look much stronger in black and white?

English readers will know what I mean if I refer to "Daily Telegraph Readers" (Think slightly to the right of Atilla the Hun) with their constant refrain re todays feckless youth, that a drop of compulsory military service, as we had in the early 1950s, would sort the beggars out.

Its interesting to compare this sentiment with the one evoked by the above where because the subject is female we are asked to adopt different mores.

Surely whats sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. no ?

Paul Mc Cann

No one likes conscription, but if one decides to make the most of an inevitability, one can do a lot of maturing, meet some potentially lifelong friends, and maybe get motivated for the long haul. I did my military service in the days of "the draft" and used the opportunity to take a lot of college courses, learn a language and see a lot of Europe. I still look back fondly on that period. Most kids would benefit from some sort of "national service" for a couple of years after high school.

Michael,
When I was 18 I served two years in the Israeli military, and although it was probably the toughest time of my life I would do it all over again :)
thanks for sharing this portfolio, it brought back lots of good memories.

Thanks for the link. Two of my cousins (women) served in the IDF.

We have to defend ourselves; no one will do it for us. Look at what happened in Europe.

Confident, smart, grounded and fun! Thanks for the article Mike, I'd almost forgotten my time spent working alongside one of these young ladies!

Cheers,
Chris

A very sad look at photos containing one of the most beautiful sights in the world (young women) and one of the ugliest devices contrived by man (guns).
Doesn't exactly engender sympathy for Israel.

Cheers, Robin

Very nice work. It would be interesting to know what type of equipment was used for these photographs. Is that a possibility?

Well Paul, yes, I'm a chauvinist. But that's because I'm a man, and not too politically correct at it. I guess if you were on the sinking Titanic today and screamed "Women and children first!!" you should pray for drowning just to free yourself from being sued later on by feminist groups. But well, I manage to keep it shut most of the time.

Mike

thank you for keeping us in perspective!
Regarding the photos: to me, a Brazilian, I can't see much difference between those women and their muslin counterparts.
Helcio

As a topic of discussion I can understand it generating some interest but as far as the photography goes, I think it is very average, if not less than average. Maybe that's because I am ex military that those photos are really ho-hum, I don't know. They just weren't very interesting or moving to me at all.

Robin P:

I don't think the Israelis want your's, or anybody else's sympathy, they just want to remain alive and free.

Some good shots, some not so good, It does show a side of the military you don't see. Frankly, I think the photographer, in this case undermines her premise that it makes young women militaristic - I see young women dressed pretty sloppy for the service, showing a great amount of individuality. I keep expecting a drill sergent to come out and start yelling. I wish I had served in the military - would have knocked some sense in me. I think the USA would be a much better place if we forced all our young people to serve the country for two years.

Brings back a lot of memories. Finishing duty on the West Bank on a Friday afternoon and trying madly to hitch back to the kibutz to see my girlfriend for Shabbat. It always seemed that 1/2 the IDF was at the Ramallah junction just outside Tel Aviv hitching.

As for the photography, well its very ho hum which is a shame because I think the subject is a deserving one.

Mike, this is wonderful post in your journal. Political and other differences aside - people should be given chance to see what they tend to discuss so much but with the very little understanding or dare I say, eye contact, with the subject of their discussion.

I wonder what all these commenters would have to say if their own country, no matter how big or small, would have been under direct threat due to the mere fact that their country existed...

Some of the works in the gallery are indeed quite memorable!

Thanks again!

Wonderful body of work. I'm really looking forward to seeing the entire book.

Well, the journalist's work, that causes the discussions not about the style, or work itself, but about the SUBJECT is certainly good job. And the work of Rachel Rapo is just that.
And, with your kind permission, Mike, I would like to give my (political not correct) comment on the subject itself.
The comment is, that however touching the introduction for the work, the Israeli model of military service is the only fair model of MANDATORY military service.
"The life of an eighteen-year-old girl in Israel is interrupted when she is plucked out of her environment at an age when sexual, educational, and family values are at their highest exploration point" says Rachel. It's true. But the lives of young MEN are interrupted the same way! Why nobody cares about that?
In my country, Poland, military service is mandatory only for men. Of course, women in Poland have the right to vote (actually, they have it since 1918, which means Poland was one of the first countries on the world to do that). Their right to vote for someone, who would push my country into war is the same, as mine. But then it's ME who will be sent to the front, and will have the DUTY to risk his life because of that, not them. Is this equality?

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