'Real men don't do poetry': Israeli army refuses to let IDF soldier read verses on the radio

Broadcast banned over fears it would 'ruin the image of the combat soldier'

Jerusalem

Real men don’t do poetry. That’s the message at least from one brigade in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), which has banned one of its soldiers from reading out his own verses on the radio for fear that it might cast aspersions on the army’s manliness.

Throughout history, soldiers faced with grim circumstances on the battlefield have been inspired to write some of the world’s most memorable poetry. Can anyone really say that John McCrae was a wuss when he wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’ and before dying of pneumonia on a French battlefield in 1918? Or that Wilfred Owen was a bit wet as he wrote his famous works before being killed a week before the end of the First World War?

Even the IDF has in the past encouraged literary pursuits. Army Radio had booked the unnamed solider from the Nahal Infantry Brigade, to appear on its weekly Hebrew literary programme called “Books, Gentlemen, Books.”

One commander in the Nahal Brigade doesn’t seem to share the station’s artistic pursuits, however. According to the Haaretz newspaper, the solider was already on his way to the radio station when he got the call from a bridge spokesperson who reports to brigade’s commander, Colonel Yehuda Fuchs. The spokesperson is said to have told the solider that his appearance would “ruin the image of the combat solider” and that he ran the risk of revealing “personal and sensitive” information.

Additionally, he was told that having poem-quoting soldiers was, “not how the Nahal Brigade wants to be portrayed in public.”

There was no response to a request by The Independent for an interview with the soldier, and for a copy of the offending poem. An IDF spokesman told Haaretz that “because the soldier was not given permission by the IDF spokesman to be interviewed, as army regulations require, it was made clear to the soldier that he couldn’t appear on the programme.”

The ban is said to have been received badly by the soldier’s unit and his comrades. The decision also appears odd given that the Israeli army has a tradition of encouraging its soldiers’ artistic flair. There are a number of literary competitions for soldiers in Israel, including in a military newspaper where troops are encouraged to write fresh endings to well-known stories.

In the past, entrants in officially sanctioned poetry competitions have had their entries posted on the IDF’s spokespersons’ website.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
News
people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones