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Grant number like: FA-54396-09

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Derek Jonathan Penslar
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Toronto M5S 1A5 Canada)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2009 – 6/30/2010

Jews, War, and the Military in Modern History

I want to write a book about Jews' involvement in the military and attitudes towards the use of armed force in modern history. Zionism had a strong military ethos, and it did not emerge from a vacuum. In modern states, although Jews frequently saw the military as something to be feared and avoided, there were many situations, especially in lands where Jews were emancipated and felt themselves to be part of the body politic, in which they had no qualms about military service. Moreover, the countries where Jews were most resistant to military service were those where Jews were most likely to engage in rebellions and revolution. Thus modern Jews made choices about military service that were dictated by individual and collective self-interest. Before and beyond the Arab-Israeli conflict, modern Jews faced ethical dilemmas about the use of force and challenged their traditional self-image as a people who shunned war.