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March 23, 2014 9:21 am

Israeli Kids on the IDF: It Protects Us From ‘Bad Countries’ Like ‘Turkey’

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

An IDF soldier pictured in 2006 at a tunnel uncovered during an Israeli counter-terrorism operation designated to thwart weapons smuggling from Egypt to Gaza through the Philadelphia Route, in southern Gaza. Photo: Israeli Defense Forces.

Israeli preschoolers recently revealed interesting insights into their attitudes towards war, peace and the Israel Defense Forces, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Thursday.

An innovative interview session with the children was the brainchild of Amit Samat, a young female Israeli soldier serving in the IDF’s Education Corps. Samat took it upon herself to enlighten the country’s future fighters about what awaits them in about 13 years time, Channel 2 said.

The young sergeant’s goal was to “find out what children know about IDF and then fill in the blanks – so as to reduce the possibility of army life being a total shock,” she said.

After speaking with youngsters at the Nitzan preschool, in Ramat HaSharon, Samat came away with a treasure trove of quotable quotes from the preschoolers.

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When Samat asked, “Why do we even need an army?” one child answered, “In order to protect us from bad countries.” Upon hearing this thoughtful response, a little girl interjected, “Turkey!”

At some point the assembled school children began to lose interest in the conversation. Accordingly, Sergeant Samat changed her approach and focused on the kids’ personal associations with the IDF.

“Yeah, I think my dad was in the army…in the Paratroopers…, ” a boy named Liam said, “…and that’s why he’s not afraid of heights.”

When the children were asked what they intend on doing in the army, Liam weighed in with this rejoinder: “No army for me. I’ll be in America.” The preschool’s caregiver then asked the children, “Why do soldiers wear uniforms?” and one of the boys responded, “Uniforms protect soldiers.”

While the array of probing questions generated a plethora of imaginative answers, there was one inquiry that produced a single, unchallenged and uniformly accepted reply: when Samat asked, “Do you think soldiers come home a lot?” everyone answered, “No!”

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