It’s not as though we were really surprised. This has already been mentioned, and more than once: With a big hint in the wake of the Second Lebanon War – when a senior IDF official counted the war casualties according to their location on the national map – and with less blatant hints before and after that war.
Well, Tel Aviv may be one of the most fun cities to live in; it’s all about having a good time, with a beach, the beachfront promenade, pubs, clubs, museums and theaters. However, how shall we put it, joining the army is not exactly her style – not in respect to the overall enlistment rates and not in respect to volunteering for combat units and the willingness to continue to Officer’s Course.
Recent data showed that Tel Aviv is ranked 53rd in the country in terms of military enlistment! Even below the Bedouin town of Rahat, but not only. Tel Aviv is also ranked below Akko, Maalot-Tarshicha, and Lod – towns that are all mixed, with both Jews and Arabs living there.
This is an important note, because we already heard some initial explanations how the Arab residents of Jaffa bring down Tel Aviv’s average. So with all due respect to these interpretive initiatives, it’s not Jaffa, stupid – it’s a domestic Tel Avivian matter.
And after making this point clear, a few words about its implications: First of all, there is great significance to the very publication of these figures, to get the story straight, or call a spade a spade if you will: The State of Tel Aviv is divorcing the State of Israel.
And why is this concerning? Because Tel Aviv is not some remote community; rather, it is the thermometer of Israeli society, and these figures indicate that we are sick. It’s not something terminal, heaven forbid, for the time being at least, but we’re already suffering great weakness.
A cold, alienated voice emerges from these data, because this voice, this great voice in the center of the country, dictates norms or at least reflects norms, and in both cases this is bad.
The figures show that the inequality in bearing the burden is growing. Those who give of themselves and are climbing to the top of the mountain are doing it shorthanded, and it will only get worse.
At the end of the day, after all the figures and all the talk and all the explanations and excuses, the burden to be placed on the shoulders of that one child to that one mother – the child who will join the army and volunteer for combat service and continue to Officer’s Course – will be twice as heavy.
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