Israel is facing increased efforts to besmirch both its governmental policies and the conduct of its military, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
But that has also resulted in a growing number of minority citizens and soldiers coming forward and exposing the half-truths and outright deceptions employed by the Jewish state's detractors.
Among them is Yoseph Haddad, a 33-year-old Arab Israeli Christian from Nazareth who served proudly in the IDF during the Second Intifada and the Second Lebanon War.
In response to Harvard University's decision to host a lecture by members of the radical anti-IDF organization "Breaking the Silence," Haddad penned the following in an op-ed published by Aish.com:
"I must break my silence. I served in the IDF during the Second Intifada. It was a difficult time. I also stood at checkpoints, stood guard, arrested people and fought in the Second Lebanon War. As an Israeli Arab and IDF solider in the Golani Brigade, I served together with other Israelis: Jews of all backgrounds, Druze and Bedouin. We were all equal, we were all brothers fighting side by side and I can testify that I served in the most humane and moral army in the world, with the highest code of ethics and human values.
"The IDF is an army that will bend over backwards to save lives and to ensure that innocent individuals are not harmed, even if it means complicating the military operation."
Two things stand out in Haddad's description of life in Israel and service in the IDF:
- The characterization of Israel as an "apartheid" state is faulty at the most basic level. Under true apartheid, such as practiced by the former regime in South Africa, minorities like Haddad wouldn't be permitted to serve in military combat roles alongside members of the dominant community;
- Accusing the IDF of engaging in a strategy of genocide, as Israel's detractors often do, is so bereft of evidence as to be laughable. As Haddad and numerous others have testified (though their testimonies are often ignored entirely by the media) very few, if any, militaries in the world take such pains to protect enemy populations as does the IDF.
PHOTO: Israeli soldiers guarding the Hebron Jewish community chat with a local Palestinian Arab man. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)