I have written several posts in the past about children of Israeli political and military leaders like Ehud Olmert, Moshe Arens, and Menachem Begin, who have turned against their fathers’ hard-line political views and embraced an alternative peaceful vision of Israeli-Palestinian co-existence.
Thanks to reader Rupa Shah for pointing me to this fascinating report about Omer Goldman, daughter of the Mossad’s former deputy director, who is resisting conscription into the IDF:
On her last day of freedom as a civilian, I saw her at the gates of the…base to which she had received orders to report for induction for a two-year stint with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), like every Israeli girl. But she came to refuse the draft, to be tried and to be imprisoned…
Several dozen supporters showed up – members of Anarchists Against the Wall, her mother and a few girlfriends – and she stayed close to them as though she were trying to delay the end, the moment when she would clash all alone with the army.
For Omer, this transition is sharper and more surprising than for most conscientious objectors: she is the daughter of the outgoing deputy head of Mossad, the man who very nearly became head of the organisation.
The article notes that her father, a career intelligence operative, served under Meir Dagan, the current director, until they clashed over unspecified policy issues, at which point the subordinate decided to retire. Given that her father’s intelligence specialty is Iran, one wonders what the conflict might have involved. Possibly a difference of opinion about what Israel’s stance toward that nation should be? Dare I hope that he stood up for a less bellicose approach toward Iran?
By the by, Gideon Levy wrote an astonishingly and deservedly harsh Haaretz story, Killer of the Year, about Israeli TV Channel 10 naming Dagan to be Man of the Year. Levy wondered since when has Israel turned into the kind of country that places laurels on the heads of men with blood on their hands and hatred in their hearts.
Igal Sarna describes a crucial moment in Goldman’s path from child of the pampered elite to young dissident:
She is one of about 40 high school students who signed the 2008 12th-graders’ letter. Thirty-eight years ago, the first such letter caused a huge uproar…Since then there have been other letters and the uproar has died down. But in Israel conscientious objection still arouses cold, self-righteous wrath.
…The crucial moment of her metamorphosis occurred this year when she went to a Palestinian village where the IDF had set up a roadblock. Someone she had considered her enemy all her life stood beside her and someone who was supposed to be defending her opened fire at her.
“We were sitting by the roadside talking and soldiers came along and after a few seconds they received an order and fired gas grenades and rubber bullets at us. Then it struck me, to my astonishment…For the first time in my life an Israeli soldier raised his weapon and fired at me.
Sarna also describes how her father received her momentous decision to resist conscription:
…He is decidedly opposed to what I do and even more to my refusal to serve in the army.
“At first he thought this was a passing phase of adolescence and later he understood that this is coming from a place deep inside me. He and I have very similar characters. I, too, fight to the end for what I believe in. But we are opposites ideologically.
This is a very telling statement. There are many Israelis and their Diaspora supporters who view Goldman and her like with deep suspicion. They seem to be traitors to their nation and its cause. Yet what is important to note here is that they, in their choice to resist, are as much patriots as their fathers. This time we’re living in requires a different type of patriotism, one that stands up against injustice and speaks out for reconciliation with Israel’s “enemies” for the sake of Israel’s future.