The Intergenerational Effect of Military Service in a Country with a Citizen-Soldier Army

Main Article Content

Ronen Itsik


The claim has been made that the social impact of army service has eroded in recent decades as the influence of service as an intergenerational familial tradition has declined, affecting the willingness of children to volunteer in the community and to enlist in the military. This study examines the effect of past service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on the values families have about both community and military service as a family tradition. Survey results from more than fourteen hundred respondents to a questionnaire published on social media show that the army service of parents positively affects the readiness of their children to volunteer in the community as well as to join the IDF. Additionally, the children of parents who have served in the military have a significantly higher social motivation than a security motivation to engage in military service, which lends support to the “citizen-soldier,” as opposed to the “professional army,” model. Hence, within contemporary Israeli society, the “citizen-soldier” army still serves as a “tribal fire,”1 and military service helps establish a constructive patriotism that is essential for such a divided society as Israel.

Article Details