'Een vrouwelijke soldaat moet meer bewijzen.. een vrouwelijke soldaat die anderen in elkaar slaat is een echte vechter... toen ik daar aankwam was er een andere vrouw bij me, ze was er eerder dan ik... iedereen sprak erover hoe indrukwekkende ze was, omdat ze Arabieren vernederde zonder enig probleem. Dat was de standaard. Je moet haar zien, de manier waarop ze vernedert, de manier waarop ze hen slaat, wow, ze sloeg die man echt hard.'Israël is een land waar een grote mate van gelijkheid bestaat tussen mannen en vrouwen. Vrouwen gaan er in dienst en worden ook als 'combat soldiers' ingezet. We konden er dus op wachten tot vrouwen - net als hun mannelijke collega's al eerder deden - via de organisatie ''Breaking the Silence'' verslag zouden doen van de manieren waarop zij Arabieren vernederen en soms doden, valse getuigenissen afleggen, bewijzen vervalsen, stelen en plunderen.
Dat moment is er nu. Ynet geeft een compilatie in Engelse vertaling van een brochure van Breaking the Silence waarin vrouwen leterlijk een boekje open doen. Opmerkelijk daarbij is dat vrouwen zich toch - zie het bovenstaande citaat - nog iets meer dan mannen moeten 'bewijzen'. Dus wellicht is is de brochure een topje van de ijsberg. Hieronder twee voorbeelden. (voor wie het lezen kan een Hebreeuwse versie van het artikel in Ynet staat hier)
Nine year old shot to death.
Other testimonies raise concerns as to the procedures of opening fire in the territories, particularly crowd control weapons. A female Border Guard detailed to protocol she called "dismantling rubber" – the dismantling of rubber bullets from clusters of three to single bullets, and peeling the rubber off of them. She also said that, despite the clear orders to fire in the air or at the demonstrators' feet, it was common procedure to fire at the abdomen.
A female Border Guard officer in Jenin spoke of an incident in which a nine-year-old Palestinian, who tried to climb the fence, failed, and fled – was shot to death: "They fired… when he was already in the territories and posed no danger. The hit was in the abdomen area, they claimed he was on a bicycle and so they were unable to hit him in the legs."
But the soldier was most bewildered by what happened next between the four soldiers present: "They immediately got their stories straight… An investigation was carried out, at first they said it was an unjustified killing… In the end they claimed that he was checking out escape routes for terrorists or something… and they closed the case."
A female intelligence soldier who served near Etzion recounted an incident in which snipers killed a boy suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail. The soldiers coordinated their stories, and the female soldier was shocked, mainly by the happy atmosphere that surrounding the incident: "It was written in the situation evaluation after the incident that from now on there will be quiet… This is the best kind of deterrence."
'They don't know how to accept the women'
The female soldiers repeatedly mention the particular difficulties they had as women, who had to prove that to were "fighters" in the midst of the goading male soldiers on the one hand, and the Palestinians, who have a hard time handling women in uniform on the other hand. The following story of a female Border Guard officer sums the matter up.
When the interviewer asked her if the Palestinians "suffer even more from the women in the Border Guard", she said: "Yes. Yes. Because they don't know how to accept the women. The moment a girl slaps a man, he is so humiliated, he is so humiliated he doesn't know what to do with himself… I am a strong and well-built girl, and this is even harder for them to handle. So one of their ways of coping is to laugh. They really just started to laugh at me. The commander looks at me and tells me, 'What? Are you going to let that slide? Look how he's laughing at you'.
"And you, as someone who has to salvage your self-respect… I told them to sit down and I told him to come…I told him to come close, I really approached him, as if I was about to kiss him. I told him, 'Come, come, what are you afraid of? Come to me!' And I hit him in the balls. I told him, 'Why aren't you laughing?' He was in shock, and then he realized that… not to laugh. It shouldn't reach such a situation."
You hit him with your knee?
"I hit him in the balls. I took my foot, with my military show, and hit him in the balls. I don't know if you've ever been hit in the balls, but it looks like it hurts. He stopped laughing in my face because it hurt him. We then took him to a police station and I said to myself, 'Wow, I'm really going to get in trouble now.' He could complain about me and I could receive a complaint at the Military police's criminal investigation division.
"He didn’t say a word. I was afraid and I said. I was afraid about myself, not about him. But he didn't say a word. 'What should I say, that a girl hit me?' And he could have said, but thank God, three years later I didn’t get anything and no one knows about it."
What did it feel like that moment?
"Power, strength that I should not have achieved this way. But I didn't brag about it. That's why I did it that way, one on one. I told them to sit on the side, I saw that he wasn't looking. I said to myself that it doesn't make sense that as a girl who gives above and beyond and is worth more than some boys – they should laugh at me like that because I am a girl. Because you think I can't do it…"