Those guys up there? That's the Israel Defence Force (IDF), asking you to join them on Facebook,
Those guys love Facebook. And Twitter. In fact, Gay Pride happened in Tel Aviv last week, and the IDF, one of the world's foremost social platform-utilising military bodies, were not going to miss out on a chance to get involved. They took a break from making headlines about
firing smoke grenades
into the chests of Palestinian teenagers to post a lovely picture on their Facebook page of two soldiers holding hands. One is on the phone, the other gazing into the distance with his sunglasses on. The perfect image of two Israeli soldiers on a nice sunny day – just casually holding hands. Idyllic.
The caption attached to the photo reads (once translated): “It’s Pride Month. Did you know that the IDF treats all of its soldiers equally?” I didn’t. But now that I do. The thing is though, they won’t comment on whether the picture was staged, or reveal any identities. This got me interested, so I decided to look further into the IDF’s Facebook page. The first thing I found was a really great video of the soldiers beatboxing:
Wow, how talented. And then there's the stunningly natural shot of a tank in a field, with the caption “Beautiful, right?” Yes! It is. Obviously, because the snow capped Mt. Hermon is in the background, and it is a very striking mountain range. The IDF's Facebook page is kinda like one that belongs to a proud/ desperate 16 year old – some cut-off kid in the suburbs home alone on a school night, constantly posting pictures of what they’re doing and pleading for comments, "Likes" and perhaps even a subconscious telling off from their parents. (Allegory for the USA, duh! Everybody needs a bit of attention.)
However, my favourite part of the IDF's Facebook page is a video that I think we should all see. The IDF’s Chief Cantor is recording a new album! A
one! Seriously. The best part of all of this is that you, yes
, can be part of choosing what the last song on the album will be! He has even recorded himself having a little singsong to make it easier for you. I’m so happy they’re so focused on crowd-sourcing chart smashes through social media at the same time as they're firing guns, closing main trading ports for Gaza and ripping down olive trees. Happy watching (because Facebook is Satan, you can't embed videos. So here it is from YouTube):
I couldn't stop there. Next stop: Twitter. Such treats! Photos of the day, they tweet people all the time, they even use hashtags, like sometimes even four times a day. They recently tweeted
this superb video
about how to use self-defence. They call it Krav Maga, but most of us would call it "putting your hand in someone’s face and stamping on their feet", or maybe "fighting back like a little girl". It’s a little bit raunchy – if you’re into that kind of thing. They’re big fans of the #Terror hash tag, especially in relation to #Gaza. It’s also probably really comforting for the people of Israel to see that the IDF are keeping on top of security between the Egypt/ Israel border, also known as drawing circles in the sand.
I needed a little bit more info than just 140 characters could provide, so next I came to the blogs. Someone in the world has taken it upon themselves to prove that many pictures showing atrocities carried out by the IDF are falsified. There’s this picture of a tiny girl, who is bleeding and has quite clearly just died, her father holding her in his arms. But don’t worry, this wasn’t from the recent Israeli air strikes in March, this was from 2009. Apparently in Israel it was OK to kill little girls in 2009, but not now, so thank god they proved that one to be falsely dated.
The real cutting edge/ new-media-savvy widget on the IDF’s blog is their “4 Simple Tips For New Recruits”. This was written by an American who is now part of the IDF. The most relevant of these to the above was certainly number four: “Use your phone wisely.” It starts by saying, “Do you check Facebook around the clock? Then you’ll hate to learn that you can’t use your phone during basic training except during specific times.” Honestly, I would have thought they were whipping out their phones all over the place, with these beatboxing videos, myth busters and constant tweets.
However, it’s OK, because our American friend here let's us know that although you might only be able to charge your phone for an hour each day, there’s a good phone strategy that can be applied. His was to go to the synagogue every day and charge his phone while praying. I’m sure that’s what God would have wanted. I was quite upset to see that the IDF don’t have Pinterest, although Pinterest has kinda happened now so maybe they've already deleted their pinboard. Either way, someone should let them know before more potential recruits slip through their fingers.
Follow Henrietta on Twitter: @henriettach