Double Serving in Israel

There is a much publicized debate in Israel about who is serving in the Israel Defense Forces and who is avoiding service. The left and non-religious sectors focus on the large number of ultra-religious Jews who avoid service in favor of spending years learning, while the right and religious seek to publicize the often ignored tendency among secular and prosperous non-religious Jews to avoid service by claiming illnesses or hardship, or simply avoiding the call.

During this back and forth dialog in which neither side is really addressing the issue…comes a heart-warming story of one young woman who could have joined so many others and avoided national service…and chose not to.

According to several leading Israeli newspapers and sites, Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer, who played in the U.S. women’s quarterfinals last month, chose to return to complete her army service. Peer was awarded “outstanding athlete status” and given a deferral to enable her to practice every day. And yet, after the tournament, she chose not to join those well-known entertainers and athletes who chose to dodge the draft.

“There was no question,” Peer said. “All my friends are going and I wanted to be a part of it,” said the 20-year-old tennis star/soldier. Peer will complete her two year compulsory service for women, serving as a military administrative secretary. Her dedication and commitment to her community and country represent the best of what is Israel.

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