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Israeli military D&D 'Do Ask, Don't Tell'


We preface this piece by saying it is very old (2005), but still a good topic for discussion. If somebody is reading this in Israel -- because we know many of you are -- and has an update, we'll be sure to note. GamePolitics found this article from YNet confirming that Israeli citizens entering the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) who admit to playing Dungeons & Dragons are "automatically given low security clearance." Israel has a policy of mandatory service in the military.

Unlike the US policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" towards gays in the military, the Israeli army actively asks if incoming members take part in a role-playing lifestyle. A security official says, "One of the tests we do, either by asking soldiers directly or through information provided us, is to ask whether they take part in the game ... If a soldier answers in the affirmative, he is sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist."

The IDF defends the policy by saying that D&D players are "detached from reality and susceptible to influence." Of course, D&D players interviewed for the piece are aware of the IDF policy and keep their gaming quiet out of fear they may lose status or clearance. We'd like to know if this policy applies to online RPGs as well, considering this article was written before the rise of World of Warcraft. It's such a strange basis to discriminate on, and taking into account American military discrimination in just the last 75 years we have no right to judge, but it is interesting to see what different armed forces get uppity about.

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