May 6, 2019 | Story | No Comments
At the height of the Israeli-Gazan cross-border flare-up, the IDF tweeted pictures of children playing with toy guns who, it claimed, attended a Hamas-run pre-school. The blunt propaganda wasn’t well received on social media.
“Hamas is robbing the children of Gaza of their future, and attempts to rob the children of Israel of theirs. We won’t let them. No country would,” the IDF said, releasing images of young Palestinians in green bandanas receiving what appears to be military training.
“While children in Israel ran for shelter from incoming rocket fire from Gaza, these children in Gaza graduated from kindergarten,” the tweet added.
The message, sent out as tensions spilled into Sunday after a weekend of heavy cross-border fire, immediately sparked controversy online, with many twitterattis reminding the IDF that Israel is just as guilty of indoctrinating its youth. “Maybe they wouldn’t need to do this if you stopped launching rockets at them,” one user said, while others began posting pictures of young Israelis being briefed on how to use guns.
Nurturing patriotism from a very early age seems important to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, against the background of the unrelenting mutual animosity that has dragged on for the last seven decades.
Palestinians, who believe they are being oppressed by ‘Israeli occupation,’ believe it is necessary to train their youth to claim their right to the land which they believe they lost when the state of Israel was created in 1948. Hamas, which since 2007 has been the ruler in the Gaza Strip, regularly organized summer camps where teens undergo training in military drills.
Israel, which has mandatory military service, believes that training its youth in combat skills is essential to tackle Palestinian extremism and other possible forms of hostilities towards the Jewish State. While primary school children receive firearms training during summer camps, their elder peers are used to the attention of Israeli police and the army, which organize sporadic training courses, especially in settlers’ communities, to familiarize teens with the use of weapons and other combat means.
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