Photo Credit: Lior Mizrahi/Flash90
The graduation ceremony of Israel Air Force new pilots, December 31, 2015.

Eleven civic studies teachers recently sent Israel Air Force Commander General Tomer Bar an offer to come and teach Israeli pilots about the meaning of democracy.

Subject: Civic Studies in Flight School
We, the undersigned, share the pain of the current conflict in our nation. We are aware of the way the current government’s moves have rattled some of the career and reserve IAF soldiers. This is a natural outcome of mixing different terminologies and mixing political debate with military service. Since it is to be expected that having a broad reserve system that is based on civilians may cause confusion between the reservist’s political views as a civilian and his service in the reserves, we’d like to offer a solution for the future.
We, veteran civic studies teachers, volunteer to teach an introductory course on the fundamental principles that we have been teaching with devotion and professionalism. We would be delighted to teach basic introductory lessons to flight school cadets in an effort to limit the unacceptable phenomenon of refusal to serve. We believe that an elementary understanding of the field could prevent politically-based refusal to serve and the taking advantage of military status to politically influence the next generation of pilots.
If we wish to have a shared life in a common, democratic home, we must act, each to the best of their ability, to anchor the sovereignty of the people and the government of laws.
Here is a first draft of our proposed study program which repeats the following principles:
1. The people’s sovereignty, majority rule, separation of the branches of government, and the limits set on government.
2. Focus on the democratic elections process and its meaning.
3. Understanding the supremacy of the elected echelon over the various establishments born by an understanding of freedom and national identity. To this end, we will teach the fundamentals of national identity in general and the Jewish national identity (Zionism) in particular.
4. Focus on the Declaration of Independence and the importance of its various components.
5. The State of Israel which is the Jewish nation-state with its Jewish values.
As we mentioned above, we will teach these subjects voluntarily as part of our moral-civic obligation to the security of Israel.

I’m not sure whether the above is an incredibly generous offer to repair the gaps in many pilot’s civic education or an expression of deep disappointment in the failure of the recipient of the letter, the IAF chief, to teach his recruits the fundamentals of Israel’s democracy.


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