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Militarism invades Israeli dating

TJI Pick
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Three phones with images of Israeli soldiers on Tinder

Images from soldiers’ Tinder profiles (Illustration: Aron Ehrlich/ Haaretz)

Published: 2 April 2024

Last updated: 2 April 2024

Swiping singles on Israeli dating apps are being inundated with profiles of men in olive green brandishing loaded guns, often standing in front of mushroom clouds from Israeli strikes or the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Army uniforms and weapons are a hot accessory on dating profiles, and many bios make a direct reference to the ongoing war. "I feel that girls are throwing themselves at me since I started my reserve duty," says Shai, a 25-year-old reservist "After I uploaded photos of myself in uniform, girls seemed more attracted and interested in me. I feel that a photo in my uniform is like standing next to a Ferrari. It's a status symbol."

"The fetishization of soldiers is not a new phenomenon," says Tom Divon, a social media researcher from the Institute of Communications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "The soldier figure has always been glorified, even sexually. There is an almost inseparable connection between masculinity and soldier-hood. There is a performative element to weapons and uniform. The wassach (army swagger) is the appeal. The soldier walks down the street and everyone around him feels protected, and grateful towards him."

But after October 7, the phenomenon has skyrocketed, to the point of glorifying violence.

Professor of Gender Studies at Tel Aviv University Dr. Chen Edelsberg recognizes aspects of the war in Gaza as an attempt to rebuild Israeli national masculinity. "The images of Hamas terrorists penetrating the southern border, and the mass rape and sexual violence they committed, were emasculating on a national scale. An act of penetration is perceived as a feminizing act of castration. Therefore, we seeIsraeli men overcompensating for that by externalizing their masculinity through acts of aggression and even revenge."


How Israeli militarism took over online dating (Haaretz)


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