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Showing the whole picture of militarism in Israeli society

Military-free education - Action day in Tel Aviv
Military-free education - Action day in Tel Aviv  Photo: AFSC / AFSC

Kinneret Golan Hoz grew up learning that to be a good citizen, she had to be a good soldier. It's an idea that is deeply entrenched in Israeli society, she says. Indeed, she herself served as an officer in the Israeli army.

But Kinneret’s belief in peace and justice compelled her, as an adult, to refuse to be part of the mainstream. “If you do not want to be part of the problem, then you have to be part of the solution,” she says.

Now, as content developer at Israel Social TV, Kinneret works to raise awareness among the general public of the ways military service is structured into the education system. Every week, the show is broadcast throughout Israel on a community channel that is available in every home with cable or satellite service. It also reaches a wide audience online.

Kinneret explains that Israel Social TV tries to spread awareness so that people may start to think and react differently. The show also works very closely with Israeli nonprofits that help distribute alternative viewpoints through their videos.  “Minds are narrowed by mainstream media,” she says. “We try to provide the missing part of the picture.”

Last year, AFSC's current Israel program coordinator, Sahar Vardi, appeared on Israel Social TV to speak about counter-militarism issues, and since then, a professional relationship developed between AFSC and Israel Social TV. A year later, AFSC is collaborating with this Hebrew-language TV channel to promote peace and educate the Israeli public on related issues.

The recent episode “From Holocaust to Revival” shows how militarism is deeply rooted in the education system, with children learning from a young age that the Jewish people have to be prepared to defend themselves militarily and be ready for the next war. AFSC supported the production of this short film.

As some of the Israeli critics of this educational system say in the episode, they would like to see more emphasis on establishing a culture of peace and rooting out all forms of racism--not only anti-Semitism--and less emphasis on the heroism of those who serve in the army.

AFSC’s regional office hopes to partner with Israel Social TV to produce five additional thematic stories about militarism in the next few years.

Ehud Shem Tov, founder and chief editor of Social TV, points out the importance of reaching Israelis through television. “Change should happen here: Our viewers include English and Arabic speakers from the Middle East, but our main target audience is the Israeli one.”


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