Meet The Australian's sultry, khaki-clad, M-16-cradling, front page pin-up girl from Israel, Maya Melamed:
"For women pushing to take combat roles in the Australian Defence [sic] Force, it may be a case of being careful what you wish for. The Israeli Defence [sic] Forces have had women in combat roles since the 1980s, leading to situations such as that which 21-year-old Maya Melamed found herself in recently. Under fire from Hamas during this year's Gaza war, Melamed spent a week inside a tank as the only woman... After 3 years in a frontline role, mainly in the West Bank, Melamed insists women can make better soldiers. She says that, in modern warfare, mental toughness is more important than physical strength... 'The only time that I felt there was a difference [in her treatment by male soldiers] was when we were attacked. We went into an Arab village (on the West Bank) to treat a Palestinian who got hurt by a car, and the people in the village were throwing stones at us and were basically attacking us, and that's the first time when I saw all my team was crowding around me to protect me because I was taking care of the patient... She estimates that of those she has treated, 70% have been Palestinian... She has sometimes treated Palestinian militants who have been injured during clashes with IDF troops." (Gender not frontline issue in Israel, John Lyons, 25/9/09)
Typical, as Basil Fawlty would say, just typical: here's Maya and her "team" rushing around the West Bank running a free ambulance service, and all those ungrateful Ayrabs can do (when they're not knocking one another over at a rate of knots in their flash new Porsches and Maseratis, that is) is chuck stones at them! Some people...
Now meet Maya Wind & Netta Mishly:
"They are just like us. Nineteen years old, ambitious, aspiring and passionate about life. But unlike many of us, they've gone to jail to defend their convictions. Maya Wind and Netta Mishly, Israeli refuseniks (they call themselves 'Shministim', which is Hebrew for 'twelfth graders'), accumulatively spent several months incarcerated for refusing to join the Israeli military, which is a required service after finishing high school. Both young women come from the most recent refusal movement (deemed the 'December 18th movement') against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In December 2008, Amnesty International officially endorsed this campaign of solidarity led by American activist group Jewish Voice for Peace, garnering 20,000 letters of support. Amnesty International considers them to be 'prisoners of conscience and 'calls for their immediate and unconditional release'... When it comes to the context of the conflict, the two possess a remarkable understanding of the underlying causes and effects of the occupation. 'It's not just a political issue, it's also an economic issue', said Wind. 'There are economic interests to keep the occupation going. And those economic interests are not only Israeli, they are also American and international and often multinational corporations also'. Ms Wind doesn't pull any punches when she discusses our personal role as Americans in the toxic reaches of the occupation. 'You (Americans) as consumers should be more aware of the companies that you might buy from and the role that they play in ruining people's lives and trampling on human rights and making the war in Israel/Palestine go on, and the occupation go on'... 'As far as US corporations go there are many who are involved in the occupation, and who are profiting from the occupation', said Wind. 'Some of them cooperate even to the extent that they design special machines for the Israeli occupation, such as Caterpillar. Caterpillar designs huge bulldozers to take down Palestinian houses that Israel uses in the house demolitions it carries out in the West Bank and East Jerusalem'... 'You give us $3 billion a year in military aid with absolutely no conditions. For example, to hold Israel to some moral standard or international law - that would be a great idea. It's a shame the US doesn't do this'." (Israel's 'Prisoners of Conscience', Gabriel Matthew Schivone, Arizona Daily Wildcat, 20/9/09)
One thing's for sure. You won't find Maya Wind or Netta Mishly in Murdoch fishwrapper.