Nadav Levitan
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This 1985 comedy, written by Assi Dayan and directed by Nadav Levitan, was the first ever film to explore female soldier camaraderie whilst side-lining their male peers in the storyline. That said, ultimately, Girls which follows a group of female recruits and their struggles to adapt to military life did not make a genuine attempt at portraying sisterhood in the IDF and instead, turned out to be quite the cringeworthy parody of military films. Indeed, the cringe fest already starts with the film’s utterly patronising title – especially when compared to such overtly ‘manly’ titles such as One of Us or Paratroopers, not to mention the casting of actresses demonstrably far too old to play18-year-old recruits.

The female soldiers’ basic training experience in Girls is portrayed as though it were an extension of boarding school life. The recruits are a group of shrill, spoilt girls who are terrified of jabs and who, it appears, only ever volunteered to do their military service when it suited their own personal agendas; certainly not because they were mandated by law. Shuli (Hanna Azoulay Hasfari) joined the army as a way of escaping her parents’ home and her boyfriend. Niva (Chelli Goldenberg) has her sights set on a spot with the IDF’s musical group as a springboard to stardom. The only one who seems to have enlisted for genuine ideological reasons is Karen (Caroline Langford), a new immigrant from Canada who is portrayed as the most ridiculous conscript of the lot.

The film allegedly chronicles the girls’ coming-of-age journey as they learn to grow out of their selfish, spoilt ways and form a sisterhood of fighters. This process reaches its climax in a sequence parodying a military operation when the girls go off to save their friend from getting raped. Seven women in full military gear, carrying loaded weapons, smoke grenades, and gas masks launch an attack on three semi-naked junkies who can barely stand up straight. Not only can the ‘enemy’ here not fight back they are also grossly outnumbered. And so, the same culturally defining myth of David vs. Goliath which so many Israelis were raised on, along with this inspirational image of the few overcoming the many, are used here as no more than a setup for yet another joke at the girls’ expense.

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