Conscripted Realities: Military and Society in Israel

Rachel Papo: Serial No. 3817131
By Erella Grassiani The military is everywhere in Israel. We can see it not only through the young uniformed people strolling through the city streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but if we look very carefully we can also find it in the way it influences the education of young children or in  the ways the media portrays the political situation. An example of the first is the way these children are made familiar with the military by making drawings and preparing presents for the soldiers ‘at the front’.

During three days of discussions, exhibitions and film screenings, gate48 would like to introduce innovative perspectives on the militarization of Israeli society and culture. Militarism is part of everyday life inIsrael, closely linked to the ongoing reality of armed conflict and occupation. As a result, militaristic approaches to the conflict have become dominant, while feminist critiques and other alternative voices have been ignored or dismissed. We can especially see this in efforts for peace and reconciliation, while the dominant discourse tends to speak of revenge of attacks from the other side and the idea that there ‘is no partner’ for peace talks, alternative voices from NGO’s and critical academics speak of dialogue, solidarity activities and the importance of knowing the ‘other side’. Conscripted Realities aims to bring forth these voices in order to examine how the military and civil society interact in the formation of the national subject.

Academics and activists from Israel will discuss the topic from various angles, including the economic aspects of militarization, the militarization of education and media, and the effects of militarization on gendered and ethnic minorities in their struggles for equality. The symposium is accompanied by a digital exhibition “Making Militarism Visible”, curated by the Israeli feminist organization New Profile. The exhibition reveals the subtle but strong influence of militarism on Israeli popular culture.

The symposium also marks the opening of the exhibition “Breaking the Silence: Video Testimonies of Israeli Soldiers”, created by Breaking the Silence* and presented at the Melkweg gallery. Conscripted Realities: Military and Society in Israel endeavors to contextualize this powerful exhibition within a broader socio-cultural perspective. The exhibition will be open between October 13th and November 13th.

The event will take place between 11-13th of October. The opening on the 11th will be in CREA Theaterzaal, Turfdraagsterpad 17 , the symposium on the 12th at the UvA VOC-zaal (Bushuis/OIH), Kloveniersburgwal 48, the filmscreening on the 13th will be at Mezrab, Domselaerstraat 120. 

See for more information and the program:

Erella Grassiani is lecturer qualitative methods at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the VU University. Her PhD research was about the morality of Israeli soldiers.  


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