The Israeli Defense Forces are highly respected among Jews in Israel and worldwide both for their military prowess and as promoters of a new Jewish identity. Admiration for Israeli generals peaked during the Six-Day War in 1967, particularly after the 55th Paratrooper Brigade took Jerusalem and once again gave Jews access to the Western Wall after a period of nearly twenty years.
Micha Bar-Am (1930), Jerusalem, 1967
Military service is an ever-present reality for Jewish Israelis. Men are required to serve three years, women twenty-one months. There is also mandatory service in the reserves: one month a year for men up to the age of forty-two and women up to the age of twenty-four. It’s no surprise that soldiers serve as models for toys, decorative objects, and all manner of kitsch.
Judaica Heaven.com, Monsey NY, 2007
As patterns for decidedly unheroic female embroidery work, the Israeli Army’s first fifteen chiefs of staff have been transformed into ludicrous paper tigers. The generals include Moshe Dayan with his famous eye patch and the later prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak. After the Lebanon war in 1982 and the massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, the army lost the support of many artists and intellectuals and became the target of intense criticism.
The Limbus Group, Israel, 1997
Zeev-Dafna Ichilov (b. 1964), Judith Guetta (b. 1963), Gallia Zeev-Gur (b. 1954)
Digital print on canvas
Israel Museum Collection
Courtesy of the Ministry of Science, Culture, and Sport