Back From War, Reserve Soldiers Set Their Sights on Israel’s Politics as Usual

Gathered this month around a campfire on the edge of a forest in central Israel, the soldiers planned their next mission: saving their deeply divided country from itself.

Like many of the thousands of Israeli reservists called to fight in Gaza, the soldiers left for war amid a sudden surge of national unity after the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel.

But as the military has withdrawn soldiers from Gaza in recent weeks and the troops have returned home, they have found their country less like it was after Oct. 7 and more like it was before: torn by divisive politics and culture clashes.

Now, as these bitter divisions re-emerge, disillusioned reservists are at the vanguard of movements demanding a political reset, seeking unity and repudiating what many view as extreme polarization.

“I first came out in December and was shocked to see that nothing had changed,” said David Sherez, a special forces commander and start-up entrepreneur, on leaving his base near Gaza.

Mr. Sherez, one of the soldiers who gathered around the campfire in the woods, is a founding member of Tikun 2024, a new nonpartisan organization led by reservists intent on preserving the spirit of cooperation brought on by the war.

Back to top button