Boys or men? Duped or “made”? Palestinian soldiers in the Israeli military



Several thousand Palestinian citizens of Israel currently volunteer to serve in various branches of the Israeli “security” apparatus. Members of this small group of mostly men are commonly perceived by other Palestinians as traitors to their people and are socially marginalized. Even soldiers who strain and sometimes break the limits of social acceptance, however, relate to their communities in dominant gendered terms. The critiques, explanations, and, occasionally, defenses of soldiering represent much larger concerns about the relationship of Palestinian citizens to the Israeli state, particularly concerns about Israelization, but are measured in relation to a family-centered provider masculinity. What the state offers or withholds from Arab soldiers plays a powerful role in shaping Palestinian discourses on masculinity and citizenship.