Meet Israel’s teenage ‘Refuseniks’, who refuse to enlist within the military

This summer time, six Israeli youngsters spoke overtly about their opposition to the nation’s obligatory army service. They condemned the “apartheid” system and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. In consequence, they’ve been imprisoned a number of instances. One among them, Evyatar Moshe Rubin, who has simply been launched from jail and is awaiting a 3rd sentence, spoke to us.

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Evyatar Moshe Rubin, Einat Gerlitz, Nave Shabtay Levin, Shahar Schwartz and Sliman Abu Ruken are all between 18 and 19 years previous and have every spent a number of weeks in jail for protesting Israel’s obligatory army service. Conscientious objectors, generally known as “refusers”, are often tried on the recruitment middle and sentenced to jail phrases of between 10 and 21 days.

“Refuseniks” serve their sentences at random instances. They’re then launched for a month, requisitioned and despatched again to jail in consequence.

“I could no longer support my country’s ethnic cleansing”

Evyatar Moshe Rubin is nineteen years previous. He was just lately launched from jail – for the third time – after about 20 days. He has served a complete of 47 days in jail since he turned 18. Since his final launch, he has lived along with his dad and mom. He’s now awaiting his subsequent “appeal”, which he once more intends to contest.

On September fifth, I refused the recruitment middle for the third time. I used to be then despatched to a miniature army court docket. An officer, performing as choose, despatched me to jail.

The military then units a date for conscription, they often say one thing like: “It’s okay, you’ve been a rebel, you’ve gone to prison, now stop the nonsense and start your military service.” This course of is often repeated three or 4 instances till the military lastly drops the case and releases the individual.

The Military tolerates a delay earlier than you start your sentence. We make the most of this time to mobilize. I’m presently ready for 2 different refusers to be launched from jail so we will manage a bunch refuse motion subsequent week.

Navy service in Israel is obligatory for all grownup Jewish, Druze and Circassian residents, for a interval of 32 months for males and 24 months for ladies. Some individuals could also be exempted if they’ve medical or spiritual causes, equivalent to belonging to the ultra-Orthodox Haredim group. Between 1998 and 2000, solely 9.5% of “conscience” requests have been accepted by the Military.

Refuzniks Eran Aviv (L) and Shahar Perets (R) in entrance of the military conscription middle in Tel Hashomer, central Israel, October 21, 2021.

“Refuseniks” have opposed Israel’s occupation coverage because the nation’s creation in 1948.

In 2002, a whole bunch of youth and Israeli reservists collectively mobilized and wrote a letter to oppose their “participation in the fighting in the West Bank”.

Between 2000 (the date of the second intifada) and 2002, 170 refuseniks have been imprisoned, lots of them a number of instances. No actual figures on the full variety of “refusaries” who’ve been imprisoned can be found up to now.

I met with “veteran” refusers from the 2002 wave, and so they informed me they served sentences of 1 to 2 years. Immediately, the military not desires to draw media and public consideration, so we serve a most of 60 to 90 days in jail in complete, unfold over a number of brief sentences.

This yr, six of us refuse to enlist, which is a comparatively excessive quantity, as there are often not more than two or three refusers per yr. The Refuse motion in Israel, though rooted in our nation’s historical past, stays marginal. Till a couple of years in the past, I wasn’t even conscious that these activists existed, which makes it tough to maintain the motion going.

Figuring out that different activists, each young and old, have taken the identical motion comforts me.

Most individuals in Israel have served within the military, like my dad and mom and my uncles. I used to be under no circumstances uncovered to ideas against Israeli insurance policies within the West Financial institution, however I found this motion on the Web. I made a decision that I may not assist the ethnic cleaning that my nation has been engaged in since its creation. I refuse to be a part of this felony system.

My dad and mom, despite the fact that they arrive from an ultra-Orthodox group, supported me once I made my choice. However Nave Levin, then again, is in a very tough scenario as his father is a senior officer within the military.

“My grandfather was killed in the war, my uncle was killed in the war and my father was in the military for 25 years. The army is a revered institution in my family,” Nave Levin informed Israeli social media “Social TV”.

“All our lives we have been fed a one-sided story about the creation of the State of Israel”

I have not had a lot backlash from individuals near me. However yesterday, once I was strolling down the road, somebody shouted at me and insulted me, he gave me the finger. Possibly he acknowledged me from an interview I gave to an Israeli TV channel…that may be nice!

Many Israelis are important of our stance, however it is very important take into consideration that each one our lives we’ve been fed a one-sided narrative concerning the circumstances of Israel’s creation and the horrors dedicated in opposition to Jews in Europe, however nobody talks about our nation’s apartheid system. Nobody talks concerning the uncooked brutality of the police and army, who’re engaged in perpetuating the ethnic cleaning and sustaining the foundations of the state.

The military has up to now not reacted to the motion of this yr’s six “refuses”. In 2020, an Israeli officer informed a “refusenik” prisoner, Hallel Rabin, that if an illustration supporting her was held, she can be positioned in a “more unpleasant” jail as a result of “the protest would pose a security threat”.

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