Gay Identity, Same-Sex Relationships, and Military Service

Yoav Zaritsky, Yuval Yonay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract This article deals with the history of military service for gay men in the Israeli army (Israel Defense Forces, idf), during the years 1948 to the mid-1970s. It is based primarily on the oral testimonies of thirty-two Israeli gay men born between 1924-1948, juxtaposed with historical sources such as newspaper articles, court documents, and written idf guidelines. Through these, we will examine popular conceptions and understandings of deviant sexuality in the idf between the 1950s and the 1970s, and in Israel in general. We will explore the question of homosexuals' enrolment in the idf and related idf policies throughout the years, as well as various strategies adopted by homosexuals in Israel to negotiate their sexuality during their service. Ours is the first study on real-life experiences of gays who served their military duty during the early decades of the idf. Keywords

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-169
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Military History and Historiography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • gay men
  • homosexuals' military service
  • Israel
  • Israel Defense Forces
  • masculinity
  • sexual behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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