While keeping one eye on our representatives at the Olympics, we were also watching, with pride and concern, our fine boys fighting in Georgia. Well, not exactly our fine boys, but rather, the students of our fine officers and soldiers, who traveled to Georgia to sell their war skills.
In both cases, by the way, the Israeli ego had to make do (so far) with a frustrating “almost.” We almost won an Olympic medal, and Georgia almost won in South Ossetia.
Yet this almost did not undermine the joy and pride. The media here reported heart-warming details regarding the impressive performance of the elite regiments trained in line with the imported IDF tradition, and many Israelis blushed when a grateful Georgian minister warmly praised the courage of soldiers instructed by former Israeli officers.
In fact, we should have been ashamed. This is the customary thing to do when a country becomes a distinguished exporter of mercenaries.
There will likely be some people who condemn the title “mercenaries.” They will probably prefer more euphemistic terms such as “advisors,”
There is no other title that befits the employees of a government agency who quit and keep doing the same job for more money elsewhere.
Those who doubt this are invited to look into the website of one of those companies. I won’t mention the name here, as I don’t wish to advertise mercenaries, but it’s not difficult to identify it and examine what it offers: Silencers and home demolitions, training “special units,” and recruiting collaborators, bodyguards, and infiltration experts. And all of this is offered in three languages only: The required English, and next to it Russian and Spanish – just so we know who the potential clients are.
It is possible, even if barely, to accept a flourishing arms trade. We can say that everyone does it, and we need to make a living somehow, and we don’t know what exactly those arms are being used for, and all the other regular excuses. We can even accept that fact that professional soldiers put their skills at the service of some kind of ideology in a distant country or enlist in favor of a cause that seems worthy or noble to them.
But to be a mere professional? Teach anyone to kill just to make money? Market the reputation and “profession” they acquired here at the expense of the blood of their own people and other people? This is a shameful disgrace. And also a dishonorable outrage.
Once upon a time, Israel made a name for itself as the exporter of oranges and roses, irrigation systems and peppers. Today, we are distinguished exporters of assault rifles and sophisticated missiles, spy drones and silencers, instructors of “elite units” and secret services – and the most terrible thing: experts on assassination and thuggery. This is not quite something to be proud of.