Improving global image
In praise of gay photo
Op-ed: Photo of two IDF soldiers holding hands a great way to improve Israeli army’s global image

Only a few days ago, a controversy erupted over a photo of US female soldiers breastfeeding their young children. The women were photographed for the benefit of a commercial organization that encourages breastfeeding, but it was quite clear that the presence of uniforms in an image whose immediate context is babies and mothers is what shook up the Yanks.


The ostensible collision between different worlds is a confusing matter, and connecting militarism to the glowing face of a mother looking at her child is certainly something that disrupts the way in which we look at the reality around us.


And there you have it, we too – just like our older brothers abroad – chose to ignite a controversy over a debate that is as relevant as the discussion of our “purity of arms.” After all, we all served in the army at one point in time, we all met someone who seemed gay, and we all whispered behind his back.


Our children, who serve in the IDF these days, cannot imagine that once upon a time homosexuals had to hide their sexual orientation in the army. It looks like the most logical thing for them that the platoon commander at officers’ course prefers to share a bed with a man on his breaks from the army.


Controversial photo 


Twist in the story

However, it’s clear that the photo depicting two IDF soldiers holding hands was meant for the outside world, which is watching us while being accustomed to seeing soldiers in uniform beating up an old man-child-woman or any other helpless civilian. Had I been the IDF’s spokeswoman, I would do the exact same thing.


The constant whining about our PR failures has lost its charm; we are fed up. With the publication of the photo on the IDF’s Facebook page, where thousands of teenagers spend their lives, it appears that those who chose the photo realized this is the best way to introduce a twist in the story known as “IDF and minorities,” while making sure that the twist is almost unnoticeable.


Homosexuals necessarily bring with them a spirit of tolerance, acceptance of the other, and exclusion of the despicable creatures known as homophobes. The Israeli army has been suffering from lowly moral branding and the uncompromising reign of men in uniform. There is nothing like a touching human-interest story to fix this flaw and nothing can fix a flawed image like a love story. Just ask David and Jonathan.



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