Some time ago I read an article about an initiative called Friend-a-Soldier. Their mission is to reach out to those populations which are most hostile to Israel and the IDF, whether it be on college campuses or on the Arab street.
The interactive website allows anyone to meet, talk to and befriend an Israeli combat soldier. Simply choose a soldier, think of a question--any question--and ask away! You will receive a transparent, personal response in your e-mail inbox from the soldier you’ve chosen."
Going through the site I found it to be honest. They are not promoting a party line, and the answers did indeed reflect the opinions of the individual and are given in their own, unscripted words--it was refreshing to see.
This is a great opportunity to go to the source and ask direct questions and get straight answers. Please do visit the site, Friend-a-Soldier--read the collection of questions and answers, and ask some questions, of your own. If you want to help these young people with their site there is a link where you can Get Involved by filling out a form indicating your area of interest, you can also help with their efforts to promote dialogue by telling your friends, or simply make a donation by selecting the How You Can Help button.
Before you criticize or accuse the IDF of crimes based on mainstream media, photo-shopped horror pictures, or the word of "others", why not make the decision to ask an Israeli Combat Soldier and find out for yourself--you may be surprised...
I love my country and the IDF, but I do not claim that they never make mistakes. Like every place in the world there will always be a few who are the opposite of perfect. While it is sad when bad deeds are exposed, I believe that every effort is made to enforce the law and maintain a humane and honorable military force.
These kids who go from high school to the battle-field, shoulder a huge responsibility--without the benefits that armed forces in North America and Europe receive. I love and admire them. I carry a card in my wallet with a prayer for the IDF on it, and whenever I see a helicopter overhead or pass through an area where they are standing watch, I stop and ask Hashem for their safety and protection. When I go through checks and have my bags examined I feel thankful that they are there--watching over us.
I do believe that it is by interactive dialogue, like this site is trying to promote, that we may one day find a way to live in peace with our neighbours.
Video from Friend-a-Soldier