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Brothers and Others in Arms: The Making of Love and War in Israeli Combat Units, by Danny Kaplan. Harrington Park Press, 278 pages, $19.95 paper.
Unlike several of this publisher's recent military-themed titles, which are mainly fantasy fodder for guys with a yen for men with guns, "Brothers and Others in Arms" offers substantial food for thought. The first third of Kaplan's insightful study consists of first-person interviews with Israeli combat veterans. With slangy vernacular intact, these voices are more ruminative than naughty in nature – but they leave no doubt that homosexuality and homoerotic play are an integral component of the Israeli military environment. Building on the factual yet often emotional anecdotes, Kaplan – a military veteran and an Israel-based psychologist focusing on gay experiences – uses the academic tools of cultural, historical, and sociological analyses to contrast the more tolerant Israeli take on gays in the military with the hidebound hypocrisy of the U.S. experience. Among his many substantive (and heavily footnoted) observations is that queers in the Israeli ranks – even in the showers – don't diminish unit morale or combat effectiveness; both suppositions, of course, are at the hysterical core of American military homophobia.



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