The Shmooze

Too Young for the Army? Israeli Soldier Deserts, Develops Anorexia

By Nathan Jeffay

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One of the many challenges that faces the Israel Defense Forces is the fact that its conscripts are essentially kids. A few weeks before getting their uniforms they are sitting in classrooms and being told by their moms not to stay out too late. The army finds itself in loco parentis.

A heartbreaking example of how this arrangement can go wrong is revealed in today’s Israeli press. According to reports, a young female conscript felt that she’d been abused by her commander. She then deserted and developed eating patterns associated with anorexia. Her father realized that because she’s a soldier, her only source of medical care would be through the army — and so he turned to the military police. Unfortunately, the police didn’t take the call as a cry for help, but rather as an aid in the search for a wanted person. The former soldier was arrested and imprisoned her for two weeks, which are up today.

According to Ynet, “Her parents were appalled to discover her painfully emaciated when they arrived for a hearing at the Jaffa Military Court.” The same article quotes her father saying: “She was so thin that sitting on the bench actually hurt her. She had to wear sweat pants underneath her uniform.”


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