Jewish Journal

Militarism in the Hebrew language

by Jeremy Elster

December 25, 2013 | 12:27 pm

"Watch this report, it will be a blast!"
"The charm offensive"
"Stand at attention"
"Fight for your rights"
"Soldier for Peace"

The phrases you just read are examples of metaphors borrowed from the military. These phrases (and their correlates) exist in nearly all languages. In Israel, because the military plays a central role in building national identity, where everyone either serves or comes across the army in their daily lives, we see a large quantity of militarized speech. Army discourse is found in sport, culture, politics, and the media. Israel even discusses the concept of peace within a military framework! Israel Social TV released the following report with examples of Hebrew phrases borrowed from the military and asks whether it is possible to exist solely within a framework of civilian discourse.


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Jeremy Elster is a Southern Californian native and New Israel Fund/SHATIL Social Justice Fellow working as the International Communications Coordinator for Israel Social TV...

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