In an attempt to understand what motivates a young female Israeli Jewish soldier (Eden Abargil) to post her trophy pictures – posing for a photographer behind the camera as she “guarded” bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees – Dr. Lawrence Davidson argues that it is “A case of decency deficit in Israeli society.” The hateful environment in which this young female soldier and countless others grew up instilled in them certain values, feelings, and principles that made Eden Abargil totally oblivious to the violence in those pictures. In a society that considers the term “Arab-lover” to be an insult, what better proof a young female soldier would need to confirm her hate for Arabs (i.e. Palestinians) than posting her trophy pictures smiling and effectively playing near some of those Arabs bound and blindfolded under the title “The Army, the best time of my life”! If that was the best time of her life, one wonders what has happened to her mind.
In an interview she gave to the Israeli army radio, Abargil asked the audience: “what is wrong with that [putting the pictures on Facebook]?” After all, she continued, “there was no violence in the pictures” and added that “they reflect the military experience.” This woman could not see the violence that was oozing out of every square millimetre of those pictures.
She just could not see it… How could she? She was an Israeli Jewish soldier serving in “the most moral army in the world”, and those “things” that she was “guarding” bound and blindfolded were only Palestinians; they were not Jews! “What is wrong with that?” she asked! This young woman just could not see the violence; and it is easy to believe her. One has to only consider the hateful environment in which she grew up and the established “norms” of the Israeli military in treating Palestinians.
Dr. Lawrence Davidson’s penetrating analysis provides a reasonable explanation of this young soldier’s behaviour. Dr. Davidson has done extensive research and published in the areas of American perceptions of the Middle East, and Islamic Fundamentalism. Dr. Davidson holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Alberta.
“How can you tell if you have a behavior problem or are simply misunderstood by outsiders, when you live in a community were decency deficiency is normal? After all, if Breaking the Silence, and other Israeli Human Rights organizations (whose memberships are quite small but collectively an important humane voice) are right, the taking of trophy pictures is ‘a widespread phenomenon, not an aberration caused by a single soldier.’ In this regard it should [be] noted that the IDF appears upset with Abargil, whose action it has labeled ‘crude,’ not because she had ‘the best time of my life’ posing for such pictures, but because she was indiscrete enough to display them to the world via the web.”
If interested in reading more, you can find the full article – published on the Intifada-Palestine website – by clicking on the following link:
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!