Share |

Israeli youth refuses mobilization to Gaza

+972 Magazine

Eighteen-year-old Tal Mitnick from Tel Aviv has become the first Israeli to refuse mandatory military service since Israel launched its assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. Mitnick was summoned to Tel Hashomer recruitment center, where on Dec. 26 he declared himself to be a conscientious objector, and was sentenced to 30 days in military prison.

Mitnick is one of 230 Israeli youth who signed an open letter in early September, prior to the war, announcing their intention to refuse their draft orders as part of a protest against efforts by Israel's far-right government to restrict the power of the judiciary. Connecting the judicial coup to Israel's long-standing military rule over Palestinians, the signatories—under the banner of "Youth Against Dictatorship"— declared that they would not serve in the army "until democracy is secured for all who live within the jurisdiction of the Israeli government."

In early December, Mitnick appeared before the army's Conscience Committee—consisting of several military representatives and one academic representative—which rejected his request for an exemption from military service. Upon declaring his refusal, Mitnick was immediately taken to Neve Tzedek military prison near Netanya to begin his sentence, after which he will be ordered to report again to the recruitment center. In recent years, conscientious objectors have receved varying periods of imprisonment, some reaching up to 100 days or more.

At a time when anyone in Israel who expresses even mild opposition to the war faces persecution and repression, Mitnick told +972 Magazine: "My refusal is an attempt to influence Israeli society and to avoid taking part in the occupation and the massacre happening in Gaza. I'm trying to say that it's not in my name. I express solidarity with the innocent in Gaza. I know they want to live; they don't deserve to be made refugees for the second time in their lives."

From +972 Magazine, Dec. 28