I thought that it would be an interesting experience to blog about my forthcoming Miluim (military reserve duty). In the next week or so, I'm going to be penning some thoughts about Miluim in amongst my usual daily musings. Next Monday morning I'm reporting in uniform, firstly for a refresher training period and then subsequently to a base on the outskirts of Jerusalem at which point it'll be Miluim related blogging only. I'm not sure how the logistics are going to work but they will probably require my wife to take an active role!
Upon finishing their obligatory regular army service, all Israeli men are assigned to a reserve unit and are then usually called up on an annual basis, either for a training period and/or to reinforce the regular army by taking over some of their missions. I have been a "Miluimnik" (reservist) since February 1998 and have spent some time every year apart from 2004 in uniform.
Previous periods of service have put me in fairly quiet locations, usually along the Jordanian border either down by the Dead Sea or in the Jordan Valley away from major population centres where things are pretty quiet. In short - nothing worth writing a blog about. The exception was during Operation Defensive Shield during Pesach 2002 when I spent the best part of a month in Bethlehem - I'll be posting a piece that I wrote back then at some point during the week.
This time around however, we are going to be based on the seam line somewhere around Jerusalem which will put us firmly face to face with the Palestinian population; a situtation with a high potential for friction. I think that this will challenge my perceptions particularly those relating to the moral nature of the IDF in dealing with the Palestinians. As a Jerusalemite, if I make an error, it could cost the life of someone dear to me but at the same time, I have a strong sense of morals and believe that all human beings deserve to be treated with respect so where is the line? Over the course of the Intifada, I have frequently been disgusted at the conduct of individual soldiers who I consider to have crossed that fragile distinction between what is acceptable and what is not but have always wondered how I would react given a similar situation. Now I'll find out - and so will you.
I have a feeling that I will be writing some uncomfortable things but will try to present an accurate picture of this man's experience of Miluim. Please spread the word as I believe it to be important that as many people see this as possible and am very intrigued to see comments and possibly spark debate.