Recruitment and Refusal

In the face of a militaristic society which glorifies military service and idolizes conscription, each year tens of thousands of young men and women choose not to take part in the Israeli army. In fact, only about half of the eligible citizens enlist, and many more leave during their service. There are many reasons for this wide ranging phenomenon - economical, political, ideological, religious and medical reasons as well as a refusal to join an oppressive, chauvinistic and violent program. Military service is a burden on many (and an asset for a few) and refusal and avoidance of military service is a complicated issue, not as cut and dry as the media would portray it.
This section of the site features a discussion of the question of the obligation to serve and the notions at it’s core. We will also feature young women and men who have chosen not to serve.
And by the way, The counseling network for refusers and avoiders provides information and support for those who’ve decided not to enlist or leave the army. Feel free to get in touch!
Ruth L. Hiller (16/3/13)
All facets of refusal may be instrumental in changing the conscription process and refusal to serve in the Israeli military is not always the outcome of opposing the Occupation. It takes courage and demands fortitude and wide support.
tags: Public Refusal
anonymous (24/2/13)
When I told my mother I was going to resist the draft because I’m a feminist, she said, “If you’re a feminist, go be a fighter pilot.” Her response didn’t surprise me, but it bothered me a lot. People tend to see feminism as an attempt to prove that “we can do it too.” They don’t get the message that means the most to me: Feminism is a struggle against oppression. All oppression. In the name of that struggle I refuse.

The morning we reported for my interview with the “conscience committee,” we found 20 girls waiting there, with their witnesses. They were really tense.
tags: testimonies
Tal Matalon (23/2/13)

March 31st, 2001.

tags: testimonies
anonymous (23/2/13)
I can’t remember exactly when I decided I wasn’t prepared to take an active role in the army. I remember I started talking about it, I decided to open up questions that I was afraid to ask, hard questions that the society I lived in always took for granted, as pre-determined. Pretty spontaneously I announced to my friends that I didn’t intend to enlist in the IDF.
The problem was that, even for myself, I couldn’t explain exactly why. I knew about the occupation and I knew about the oppression but it was so far away.
tags: testimonies
Rela Mazali (23/2/13)


The following article was published in German translation in the Swiss feminist journal Olympe as: 


Rela Mazali, "Widerstand gegen Militarismus und Besetzung: Feministinnen in Israel praktizieren Demokratie," translated by Shelley Berlowitz, Olympe: Feministische Arbeitshefte zur Politik, Heft 25/26, 2007.



tags: militarism and feminism, women refusal, refusers
Lynda Brayer (7/2/13)


We are happy to host the post below, by Lynda  Brayer, who represented several conscientious objectors to military service in Supreme Court appeals in the mid 1990s. Her work on this issue is part of a very interesting and often overlooked period in the history of the refusal movement in Israel, when it was led by recent immigrants from the former USSR, among them many Christian pacifists. In this post, Lynda Brayer shares some of her thoughts regarding the status of conscientious objectors, and especially Christian conscientious objectors, in Israel.

Samer Swaid (7/2/13)
We are happy to host a post by Samer Swaid, Secretary of the Druze Initiative Committee – an organization that has supported Druze-Palestinian conscientious objectors in Israel since its establishment in 1972.
tags: druze, Refuser Solidarity Network
The Refusers' Parents Forum (13/11/03)
The following is the report from the Parents' Forum of two days in the military courtroom (Nov. 11 and 12): the defence summation of "The Five" and the verdict of Yoni Ben Artzi.

For an hour we sat in the overcrowded and badly ventilated courtroom of the Jaffa Military Court, listening to presiding judge, Colonel Avi Levi, reading out a long verdict - hard to understand as he was rushing through the document.
tags: Public Refusal, the refusers trail
The Refusers' Parents Forum (19/10/03)
A few minutes before the beginning of the solidarity vigil on the afternoon of Sunday Oct, 19, somebody came up with a new slogan: "Conscience in Prison, Stupidity in Power!" Blank placards were drawn up on the sidewalk opposite the Defense Ministry gate, and the new slogan joined old favorites such as "Down With The Occupation!" and "Occupation Is Terror - the Refuser is a Hero!" Some 150 people had come to express solidarity with the imprisoned refusniks, now entering the last stages of the year-long ordeal at the Jaffa Military Court.
tags: the refusers trail, Public Refusal