This article examines the desired image of the graduate of one secular Israeli pre-military academy. Drawing on a qualitative case study based on in-depth interviews with staff, students, and graduates, it outlines the academy's vision of the desired graduate, its internal educational processes and situates the academy's educational discourse in the context of the civic-military relations in Israel. The major findings show how the secular academy under study creates a new ideal of a social soldier in opposition to the ideal of the religious soldier, promoted by the religious-Zionist academies which are the secular academies’ ideological and political rival. The data further describe how the academy seeks to contribute to the army's community life and values as well as in Israeli society, by creating special tracks in the army, wherein groups of graduates can continue their military service together. A central finding is the redefinition of Jewish identity as secular, cultural and national as opposed to religious Judaism that is promoted by the religious Zionist academies. The article concludes that these findings reflect broader hegemonic transformations in Israel such as the increasing dominance of the religious right, which the secular elites seek to counter and by reclaiming their former influence.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd
- Military education
- Pre-military academy
- Republican citizenship
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science