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Honors Abstract


"Conscription and the Marginalization of Military Values in Modern Israeli Society (1982-2010)"
- Author: Jaclyn Meg Blumenfeld (2010)
- Thesis Advisor: Devin Stewart
- Program: Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies


This paper discusses the shift of the Israeli value system beginning in the 1980s from Israel's founding values of militarism and security toward a more liberal approach to citizenship and success. This research traces the historical role of conscription in defining oneself and one's obligation as an Israeli citizen and examines the changes in social composition of the military, especially the elite ranks. It recognizes the decline in centrality of the Israeli Defense Forces in Israeli society, citing economic development, globalization, and the political development of a tenable peace process as factors that enabled Israel to enter a new era of demilitarization. Such factors also allowed for a consolidated military protest movement to emerge during the First Lebanon War. As this military evasion movement has grown and unified over the past three decades it has aligned with a liberal individualistic discourse that has become increasingly incompatible with the military collective values of Israel's majority. The Israeli Defense Forces and broader Israeli society have only in the past decade begun to acknowledge the impending threat of military evasion and the challenge posed by those who wish to reform Israel's military-determined hierarchy. This paper presents the Israel Defense Forces' initial response to its decline in stature, noting that it is but the beginning of a crucial transformation within Israeli society likely to give rise to an inevitable clash of ideologies in the future. This research integrates both the founding values of a society born into perpetual conflict and the effects of modernization and globalization to analyze the resulting discord.




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