'Israel’s Toy Soldiers
By Chris Hedges
If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist “madrassa,” or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace.
The Marva program, part summer camp part indoctrination, was launched in Israel in 1981. It allows participants, who must be Jewish and between the ages of 18 and 28, to fire weapons, live in military barracks in the Negev desert and saunter around in an Israeli military uniform saluting and taking long hikes with military packs. The Youth and Education Corps of the Israel Defense Forces run four 120-strong training sessions a year.
“Upon arrival, the participants experience an abrupt change into army life: wearing uniforms, accepting army discipline, and learning the programs and lessons integral to the program,” the Let Israelis Show You Israel Web site reads. “The program includes military content such as: navigation, field training, weapons training, shooting ranges, marches and more, as well as educational content such as: Zionism, Jewish Identity, history and knowledge of the land of Israel. All of this is taught in Hebrew in an intensive eight weeks.”
"The participants finish the program after completing a short, intensive, exhilarating military experience that allows them to taste Israel in a way that they never could before—as part of the Israel Defense Forces,” the site reads. “They leave the program with a feeling of belonging and a strong connection to Israel, and many return to Israel to continue the connection that was created in the framework of the Marva course.”
There are, of course, gushing testimonials about the program.
"I spent the first few days of Marva doubting my decision, wondering why I had come, wondering if there was any way out. With all of the running, yelling orders, discipline and Hebrew, I felt horribly out of place,” writes Canadian David Roth of his summer. “It was a completely different world from the one I was used to. All that changed, though, by the end of the first week. We had our first ‘Masa’ (Hike). It was very hard, but at the end, we all knew, our M16s were waiting for us at the ‘tekes’ (Ceremony). We got through the 8 kilometers and had our ‘tekes’ and got our guns. It felt amazing, and from that point on Marva was incredible.”'
Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18488.htm