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250 high school students declare support for conscientious objectors

Students at Tel Aviv’s Ironi Alef sign petition in support of Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze’evi, who refuse to serve in the army over their opposition to the occupation.

Activists circulate a petition in support of Israel conscientious objectors, Tel Aviv. (Einav Zilber)

Activists circulate a petition in support of Israel conscientious objectors, Tel Aviv. (Einav Zilber)

Over 240 Israeli high school students signed a petition on Friday morning in support of two conscientious objectors.

The petition, organized by Mesarvot, an Israeli NGO that supports conscientious objectors, called to support Tamar Alon — a former student at Tel Aviv’s Ironi Alef High School, where the petition was circulated — and Tamar Ze’evi. The two are now serving their fourth stint in military prison for refusing to serve in the IDF due to their opposition to the occupation.

On Monday Alon, 18, and Ze’evi, 19, declared their refusal to join the army, for which they were sentenced to 30 days’ detention, at Tel Hashomer induction center. The army also decided to separate the two women, sending them to different prisons. By the end of this latest period in jail, they will have spent a total of 74 days behind bars for refusing to serve in the army.

Standing at the entrance to the induction center, the women said: “The choice to refuse army service is one of the stepping stones to turning life in this homeland into one of peace, freedom and fellowship. In our refusal to take part in a system of oppression, we are in solidarity with everyone who is being denied the freedom of choice.”

Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze’evi stand outside the IDF’s Tel Hashomer induction base where they were expected to declare their refusal to serve in the army, and be sentenced to prison, Tel Aviv, November 16, 2016. (Haggai Matar)

Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze’evi stand outside the IDF’s Tel Hashomer induction base where they were expected to declare their refusal to serve in the army, and be sentenced to prison, Tel Aviv, November 16, 2016. (Haggai Matar)

Alon and Ze’evi both requested that they perform civilian national service instead of military service. In her original declaration of her refusal to serve, Ze’evi, a resident of Jerusalem, wrote: “Out of love for this land and the human beings who live in it, I want to believe, and I do believe that there is a different path and that we can effect change.”

Alon, who lives in Tel Aviv, wrote in her declaration: “I can’t accept the claim that the oppression of another people, the denial of basic human rights, and racism and hatred are necessary for the existence of State of Israel.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. Eliza

      Cheers to the two Tamars. Is it too much to hope that the local support these girls are receiving from a former High School can expand into a broader and sustained activism from the general public.

      There has been no mincing of words and both girls are directly and openly confronting the system and doing so from a very positive place; ‘out of love of this land and the people who live in it’ and ‘I can’t accept the claim that the oppression of another people…are necessary for the existence of Israel’. Great stuff.

      Thanks to +972 for bringing this to a wider audience; is it just one of those things that there seems to have been a crop of recent female conscientious objectors lately, or is that the female objectors are more newsworthy and thus get a wider press? Where are the boys?

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