The Record- Israeli-born hockey player David Levin is hoping to defer his mandatory military service in order to pursue his junior hockey career.
Levin was selected first overall by Sudbury in the Ontario Hockey League draft this past weekend, but will only be able to play one season for the Wolves unless he's granted a deferment by the Israeli Defense Forces.
"I'm not thinking about it now," Levin said during a visit to Kitchener on Tuesday for an announcement regarding the OHL Gold Cup. "I hope the OHL will help me with this."
It's compulsory for men to serve three years and women to serve about two years in the Israeli military with conscription beginning during each citizen's 17th year.
Aside from the mandatory service, Israelis are also considered reserves until their mid-40s. If Levin doesn't get a deferment and remains in Canada, he says he wouldn't be able to return to his homeland for decades.
"It's a hard decision for me," he said. "It's a rule that if you don't go into the army and stay here, that you can't go to Israel until you are 45 years old. That would be very hard for me because my family and parents are there.
Hey, let's hear it for the red, white and blue! Mandatory military service? That shit is for the birds. Can't tell you how fast I would be fresh out if they instituted a draft in this country. Thanks, but no thanks. I suppose I could see the allure of fighting for your country if it didn't involve hurling rocks at a bunch of Palestinians. Nothing will shorten the old hockey career like 3 years off from the sport and Tommy John surgery from throwing too many fastballs at your neighboring country. You don't even get standing ovations at professional sporting events for that type of service, do you? That really takes all of the glamour out of being a veteran. This kid is just supposed to avoid certain death just to say that he served his fellow man? Fuck that. Call him when the accolades associated with the Isareli army align themselves with million dollars contracts and the amenities that come with being a professional athlete.
Now listen to me David, and listen good. You get your ass to North America and you don't think twice. #1 pick in the OHL? You clearly have the talent to achieve a high level of success in professional hockey. I can see it now, your very own documentary, 'Star Of David'. The shit writes itself. Don't blow it because of some irrational sense of commitment to your homeland. Ask not what you can do for Isreal, but what Israel can do for you. Something tells me the answer doesn't include a career playing the sport you love. Would you rather have seven figure contracts or get your shooting hand blown off by an AK-47? Don't worry, I'll wait. I know this is hard. Just ask Jasiel Puig or El Duque how tough it was to make that choice. They were halfway across the Atlantic with the time you have already spent laboring over this decision. I'm sure your parents will forgive you when they are flying First Class en route to North America to watch their son live out his dreams. The question is, will you forgive yourself if you pass up a life of comfort and prosperity? It may take some time to get there. But when you are drinking a cold one over a 5 star steak dinner in a gorgeous American city, your guilt ridden conscience will be but a distant memory.