Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Battling God-fearing combattants 1

Posted by worriedlebanese on 23/07/2008

As I skimmed through the international press looking for some information about the two bulldozer attacks that hit Jerusalem, I stumbled upon a very interesting article in the Israeli daily Haaretz titled “Religious Zionists / Not by chance“. The article deals with three men who shot (and killed) the three Palestinians who carried the last three attacks in Jerusalem; they were all religious zionists.

Here are the arguments that spoke to me the most:

“Many religious Zionists carry guns because they live in or frequently visit the West Bank. Many are well trained in the use of weapons because a relatively large number serve in combat units and tend to keep up their shooting skills afterward. Above all, however, education and life circumstances both play a significant role in the willingness of those who don knitted kippot to kill terrorists.”

Although stated in a very matter-of-fact manner, this information shows a very important trend in Israel, one that is rather reminiscent of two situations in Lebanon, one concerning the Christian nationalist movement the 1970s and the other concerning the Shiite “resistance” movement in the 1990s. In both cases, a group that defines itself in religious and national terms invests itself with the mission of defending its country, finds a way to collaborate with the official armed forces and then proves to be more efficient on several grounds, notably moral and military.

The Christian militias in the 1970s aimed at proving that they defended Lebanese sovereignty better than the Lebanese Army. Since the 1990s, Hezbollah wants to prove the same thing. In the last battle, they showed that they resisted the Israeli Army better than any conventional army ever had.

Moreover, they choose to fight on several fronts, and one of their battles is undoubtedly moral. They want to prove that they are morally superior to the IDF and to the Israeli society and institutions. This is very obvious in their political communication. They also try to show their moral superiority on the battle ground displaying courage, selflessness, sacrifice and generosity. These are exactly the same values that the religious zionists aim at displaying.

The above mentioned article reminds us that the jewish religious-zionist sector in Israel came out from the “July  war” (2006) with a hero: Ro’i Klein (pictured above) who threw himself on a grenade to protect his comrades.

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