Friday, July 17, 2009

Gays in Israel's military

The nation of Israel has had no restrictions on military service by gays since 1993. Major Yoni Schoenfeld, a gay officer who is the editor of the military magazine, Bamahane, said there was little friction in the ranks related to gay soldiers. Schoenfeld is pictured here listening to his partner. His magazine has reflected the evolving attitudes over the years. In 2001, it was shut down briefly after featuring an interview with a retired colonel who had come out of the closet. Yet this year, there was no negative reaction to the cover picture of two male soldiers embracing. Times change.

Perhaps it is just taking time here in the US. Perhaps an end to DADT is just around the corner and then we can be like our friends in Israel. Perhaps. In that country, gays were permitted to serve even before 1993, but not in certain intelligence positions where, at the time, they were deemed possible security risks vulnerable to blackmail. Now, gays and lesbians serve in all branches of the military, including combat duty. In fact, the Israeli military provided the backdrop for the 2002 movie "Yossi & Jagger" about two Israeli combat soldiers who fall in love on the front lines. It was even screened on military bases where it was deemed a hit.

Mr. Obama: bring us to the same place. Carry through with your promise and let Americans have the same equal treatment!

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