Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements

A key activity of the movements for whom this book is intended is likely to be supporting those who refuse to join the military. How to go about organising that support is the question addressed by Sergeiy Sandler in this chapter. Sergeiy is a conscientious objector and antimilitarist activist from Israel. He is one of the founders of the Counselling Network for Refusers operated by the Israeli feminist and antimilitarist movement New Profile and is also an International Council member of the War Resisters' International.

On March 2nd, 2001, about thirty people met in a small conference room in the Druze Palestinian town of Isfiya on Mount Carmel. A few of us had had some years of experience supporting declared conscientious objectors. Others had been helping friends and acquaintances obtain medical exemptions from military service. A few more came to learn from the rest. Working under the aegis of the feminist antimilitarist movement, New Profile, we formed a network of volunteers committed to counselling and supporting any person refusing to perform military service in Israel. More than fourteen years later, this network receives, and successfully resolves, well over a thousand calls for support every year, from people from all walks of life, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. Many more use us to help themselves: our Internet forum and other resources posted online have hundreds of thousands of hits a year. We were even enough of a menace for the Israeli police to start a criminal investigation against us (for 'inciting draft evasion', i.e. encouraging people to resist conscription) a few years back. All in all — a nice little success story, especially if measured against the bleak backdrop of Israeli political realities.

Idan's Story

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Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements

Idan Halili became the first Israeli conscientious objector to refuse military service on the g

A list of some of those currently in prison for their work for peace. Write to them on 1st December, Prisoners for Peace Day, help us grow our solidarity!

Israeli conscientious objector Hallel Rabin, 19, was imprisoned again last week, following her refusal to serve in the military. This is Hallel's fourth imprisonment and she was sentenced to more 10 days in military prison. Hallel has already spent 40 days behind the bars in three separate terms.

Israeli conscientious objector Hallel Rabin, 19, was imprisoned for her refusal to serve in the army. On 19th October, Rabin was sentenced to 25 days in military prison. This is Rabin’s third imprisonment, adding to 15 days she already spent behind bars. Write to the Israeli authorities here demanding Rabin's immediate release. 

After twenty five days of imprisonment the IDF’s Conscience Committee granted conscientious objector Maya Brand-Feigenbaum a release from military service. "I believe that refusing to serve in the military is the best and most effective way for me to promote anti-war principles and contribute to ending the occupation", she said.

Conscientious objector Yasmin Ricci-Yahav, 18, was imprisoned again for her refusal serve in the army. This is Yasmin's second imprisonment and she will spend 20 more days behind bars. Yasmin was first sentenced to 10 days following her declaration of refusal at the military recruitment centre in Tel Aviv. By the end of her current term, she will have spent a total of 30 days in prison.

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