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The Bedouin village where compassion ends

The Palestinian residents of Khan al-Ahmar are facing the threat of expulsion from their homes in the West Bank. No matter how hard they tried to ingratiate themselves with their settler neighbors, nothing seemed to help. 

Sukkot is a lovely holiday. For seven days we play pretend: building ornate sukkot tabernacles in the safety of our yards or on our balconies, and imagine transience. While we say blessings, the residents of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar will be biding their time.

Is there another way to awaken the Jewish-Israeli conscience, which instructs us to remember that the sukka was an integral part of our forefathers’ journey from slavery to freedom? That this is not so different from the dilapidated shacks that house the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, from which the state is trying to expel them? Will the fate of hundreds of people, children and elderly who live in deep poverty just a short drive away from the settlement of Kfar Adumim, be of any interest to us a moment before we go back to our daily routine after the holiday comes to an end?

The story of Khan al-Ahmar is depressing in its banality. The Jahalin Bedouin community who were forced to leave their land in the Negev Desert following the 1948 war and wandered to the Mishor Adumim area of the West Bank. Decades later, that area was designated “Area C,” under full Israeli military control; the Jahalin, then, turned into an obstacle to settlement expansion. As long as Bedouin communities in the area have been under Israel’s control, the state has refrained from providing them with minimal living conditions, including connecting them to water and electricity. In fact, Israel has done everything in its power to prevent the residents from taking their fate into their own hands.

The state does not seem to be satisfied with home demolitions, fines, and confiscating equipment — now it wants to evict the entire village. To where? To an area bordering on a giant landfill near Abu Dis, an area that the state itself has called a “ticking time bomb” due to the large methane deposits that have accumulated over the years. The master plan proposed by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, along with Israeli planning rights NGO Bimkom, was rejected by the Civil Administration.

A symbolic struggle

One must see Khan al-Ahmar in order to understand the dire poverty in...

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The Israeli army is now justifying expulsion with feminism

Netanyahu vowed this week that Israel would not uproot any more Arab communities. He seemed to forget two Palestinian villages fighting for their existence at this very moment.

On the way back from Susya, a small Palestinian hamlet in the south Hebron Hills, we pass by a major traffic jam caused by the 50th anniversary celebration of the occupation. It was at those festivities that Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed that he would not uproot any more communities — neither Jewish or Arab. Tell that to the residents of Susya, Mr. Prime Minister.

Susya is one of two Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank (under full Israeli military control) that are struggling against expulsion. The other village is Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin community near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. The state wants to expel the villagers to a waste site in Abu Dis, located in Area B (where the Palestinian Authority handles administrative matters, and where Israel controls security).

After the state told Israel’s High Court of Justice earlier this week that it intends to evacuate Khan al-Ahmar in the coming months, Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem warned that forcibly removing an indigenous community in occupied territory constitutes a war crime. I doubt whether such a declaration bothers anyone in the government, since war crimes have long ceased to be an issue for those running the country. The state says both Susya and Khan al-Ahmar were built illegally and without permits or a plan. And in both cases, it is the state itself that prevents the proper planning of both communities — in order to set the stage for massive, strategic expulsions in order to expand the surrounding settlements.

Susya was established in the south Hebron Hills since the 1830s. Until 1986, the village was a few hundred meters from its current location. It was then, however, that archeologists began digging in the area, discovering the remains of an ancient Jewish community. The Civil Administration, a branch of the Israeli army that manages the day-to-day of Palestinians under military occupation, declared the village an archeological site, the area was expropriated for “the needs of the public,” and the IDF expelled the Palestinians of Susya from their homes. The villagers then moved to their privately-owned agricultural land, approximately 300 meters southeast of the original village.

Expulsion in the name of feminism

In its current location,...

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Why is the Israeli Right so terrified of cultural expression?

The Right holds near total power in Israel, so why is it so afraid of poetry and theater productions?

Should a stranger come upon the public discussions happening in Israel over the past few years, he or she would be under the impression that the country is a global cultural powerhouse. From Al-Midan Theater, Jaffa’s Arab Hebrew Theater, the Ophir Prize — Israel’s version of the Oscars — to Palestinian poets Dareen Tatour and Mahmoud Darwish, the media and the public are in a frenzy over the face of Israeli culture.

In light of these discussions, one gets the impression that culture plays such a central role in Israeli society (statistics show that Israeli students receive the lowest grades in the literature and writing sections of their matriculation exams). Our society, however, still places a far greater emphasis on hard sciences rather humanities, and the cultural budget Israelis fight endlessly over constitutes a tiny percentage of the total state budget — far lower than that of other countries.

The story we tell ourselves

So how do we explain the Israeli obsession with culture? Yes, the cultural sphere is currently overseen by Miri Regev, a racist and violent woman who violently does her best to stay in the headlines. But this government excels in producing racist provocateurs, many of which are far more dangerous than Miri Regev in terms of the power they hold. The same goes for the current Knesset, the most extreme Israel has known to date, which proposes racist laws with far-reaching consequences on a regular basis.

Moreover, we are in an era in which the Right is enjoying an unprecedented amount of power. Its rule is absolute, the opposition is weak and paralyzed, and there is no real force that challenges it from the left. Why, then, did a small theater such as Al-Midan — which raised the culture minister’s ire when it ran a play written by a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was imprisoned for his role in the murder of an Israeli soldier — become a topic of national interest that leads Regev to total war?

There is a double answer to this question, which is tied to the very essence of culture itself. When culture is at its best, it does two opposite things: it challenges the collective narrative while also articulating it. The character of a society is formed not only by what it does, but also by...

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Palestinians and Israelis mark interfaith new year in East Jerusalem

Over 150 people hold a joint feast in honor of the Muslim and Jewish new years in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Israel is working tirelessly to replace Palestinians with settlers.

This year, the Jewish New Year lined up with the Muslim New Year, an event that takes place once every 33 years. In honor of the double-holiday, the residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah decided to hold a joint new year’s feast for Jews and Muslims outside the Shamanseh family home, from which they were evicted by settlers two weeks ago.

The struggle over the fate of the home may have come to an end for now, but the struggle against Israel’s policies of dispossession in the neighborhood, which have reared their head after a respite and now threaten dozens of families in Sheikh Jarrah, continues unabated. Palestinian activists and residents continue to arrive at the Shamanseh home every evening, making clear they are not going anywhere. [Read more on the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah here].

When we reached the home, the first thing we heard was the Muslim call to prayer and an Israeli flag that had been hung on the roof. The flag felt so foreign that for a moment it seemed its presence served to remind the settlers that they were there due to the good graces of the Israeli government. With the muezzin blaring in the background and the Arabic in the street, it was easy to forget that.

‘We will cry together and protect one another’

As prayers came to an end, the preparations outside the Shamanseh home were at their peak: dozens of people setting up tables, spreading tablecloths, organizing chairs, while greeting each other with hugs, kisses, and the traditional new years greeting in Hebrew and Arabic. I quickly realized that the vegan dish we brought was unnecessary; the hosts from the neighborhood made sure to include plenty of vegan options.

People continued to stream in, both Jews and Palestinians. Finally we sat around the table, 150 of us, in one of the most memorable events of the last few years. I spoke to a man, who according to his appearance was a devout Muslim, who told me he came from Shuafat refugee camp to take part in the event. “Although we have our own problems there,” he told me, “but when Jews and Arabs do something so nice together,...

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Is Israel turning its Bedouin citizens into a stateless people?

Israel has been systematically revoking citizenship from its Bedouin citizens without as much as telling them. Is this a harbinger of things to come?

In Israel’s relentless war against its Arab citizens, there are few things that one can still reasonably claim to be surprised by. Jack Khoury’s article in Haaretz a few weeks ago, however, did just that. Khoury revealed how the Israeli Interior Ministry has been revoking citizenship from hundreds of Bedouin in the Negev. Bedouin citizens would arrive at the Ministry to handle some bureaucratic procedure — such as applying for a new passport — and would leave with a new status: non-citizen resident whose presence in the country is now dependent on the good will of the regime.

It turns out this has been happening for years.

“I have been working on this for nearly two years,” says MK Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint List. “I have submitted many parliamentary questions and have had correspondences with the Interior Ministry. They claim that this policy was applied to 2,600 people — I think it’s a far greater number. I believe that this is going to be one of the central struggles of the Arab public in the coming years.”

In a hearing held by the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee at the request of Touma-Sliman, representatives of the Interior Ministry confirmed the existence of the following policy: when Bedouin citizens come to the ministry’s offices, clerks check the population registry for records of their parents and grandparents between 1948 and 1952. Khoury explains the significance of these years:

Bargaining chips in the hands of the state

Joint List MK Juma’a Azbarga, a Bedouin from the village of Lakiya in the Negev, has trouble understanding the “mistake”: “A clerk at the Interior Ministry should not have the authority to revoke someone’s citizenship. A mistake affecting 2,600 people? This is a well-planned mistake. This is policy.”

“I believe this is part of a process happening beneath the surface,” Azbarga continue. “They want to slowly reach a critical mass of citizenship-less people in order to make it easier when they come to transfer us. The name of the game is demography; the Bedouin make up 34 percent of the population in the Negev. In the eyes of the state, that’s a threat.”

“The state established a network for Bedouin settlement. We are not settlers — we are the natives here. So...

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Goodbye to the Jewish-Arab school that taught me the meaning of hope

For years, Jerusalem’s bilingual school gave an entire community reason to believe in hope and partnership. In Israel of today, it is nothing short of a miracle.

Today is the first day of September, the first day of school in Israel. Putting aside the years we lived abroad, this is the first time in 13 years that we are not sending our daughters to the Max Rayne “Hand in Hand” bilingual school in Jerusalem.

The process of deciding which school to send one’s child begins at a very early age. As young parents, it was clear to us that we didn’t want anything “special,” and that it would be best to send our girl to the neighborhood preschool, since this was her natural environment and it was important for her to learn about it. At the end of the year, after fundamental disagreements over the need for four year olds to prepare packages for Israeli soldiers and questions on who is authorized to teach them about Jewish holidays, we began looking elsewhere.

There are some schools of thought that argue that schooling and education are far less critical than what we tend to think. Perhaps this is true. Our entire family — not just our daughters — would not be who we are today without the bilingual school.

It is difficult for me to speak nostalgically, since not long has passed since we parted, and because we will remain part of the school’s community. And yet, as I write these words memories come flooding back — moments of overcoming and laughter, as well as pain and frustration. The singing in Hebrew and Arabic — full of hope and light — at the beginning of every school year, the first words they learned to write in both languages, the infamous arson, the hateful graffiti repeatedly spray-painted on the walls, the joint Iftar meal, the tours to destroyed Palestinian villages.

There were also, of course, the astonished/worried/angry responses we received when we signed up our older daughter, including the question that seemed to repeat itself over and over: “What will happen if she marries an Arab when she grows up?” to which I would always answer: “I’ll learn how to make maqluba for Friday night dinners,” and so I did. Others wanted to know whether she and her sister would grow confused over their Jewish identity.

That question seems so baseless now. In their years at the school, my...

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WATCH: Settlers sexually harass Palestinian woman, soldiers stand by

Settlers in Hebron use loudspeaker to disparage Islam and sexually harass a Palestinian woman in the middle of the night.

The settlers of Hebron have never been known for their manners. This time, however, it seems that they have sunk to a new low — even by their standards.

Last Thursday night, settlers from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba approached the neighborhood of al-Hariqah and used a PA system to curse Islam as well as the local Palestinian population, in both Arabic and Hebrew.

A Palestinian volunteer for Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem documented parts of the incident from the window of her home (full disclosure: I am a member of B’Tselem’s board). When the settlers realized she was filming, they began cursing and sexually harassing her using racist and misogynistic language. According to the volunteer, soldiers who were present at the scene did nothing to stop the settlers.

This video should come with a trigger warning, since the language used in it is too despicable to quote:

A B’Tselem volunteer who filmed the incident from her window said the following the incident in a testimony she provided to B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri:

At 6 p.m. I went up to my apartment, which looks out over al-Hariqah neighborhood and the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At first I ignored the settlers’ party, but they turned the music up just when the muezzin called out for evening prayers from the mosque. They started mocking the prayer and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

I saw a military jeep on the hilltop where the settlers were gathered. There were several other soldiers on the road below, which looks out over al-Hariqah Street that runs by the settlement. I began filming. The settlers began to use foul language and call out obscenities concerning me, Islam, and especially the Prophet Muhammad. The Israeli soldiers and police did nothing to stop them. This was not the first time: about a year ago, I documented settlers swearing, using foul language and calling out obscenities against the Prophet Muhammad while soldiers and police allowed them to continue.”

According to the IDF Spokesperson Unit, the soldiers present “asked the settlers to stop and even called the police. The police arrived at the scene and confiscated the PA system.” The video, however, does not include any intervention on the part of the soldiers.

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Meet the Palestinian Israel put on trial for her poetry

Dareen Tatour has spent over a year and a half under house arrest for publishing a poem on her Facebook page. Since then, she has lost the ability to support herself, and cannot leave the house without a ‘chaperone.’ Orly Noy spoke to Tatour about the difficulty of living under constant surveillance, her love for Hebrew and Arabic poetry, and the need for Jews and Arabs to learn each other’s language. 

One day in the future, when they write the book on the belligerence and aggression of the State of Israel toward its Arab citizens, the story of Dareen Tatour — who has been under house arrest for nearly two years, including three months of jail time — will have its own special chapter dedicated to it.

Tatour was arrested in October 2015 for both a poem and Facebook post she published. Since then, the state has been waging a legal battle, which has included bringing in a series of experts on both Arabic and Arabic poetry, in order to dissect the words of a young poet who was nearly anonymous until her arrest. Her trial, and the state’s attempts to turn a poem into an existential threat, has been nothing short of Kafkaesque.

I spoke to Tatour by telephone, from her home in the village of Reineh, near Nazareth. As part of the conditions of her house arrest, Tatour is not allowed to use the Internet or smart phones. “So I started using dumb phones,” she laughs. Soft spoken, Tatour maintains a reserved matter-of-factness even as she recalls those first knocks on her door and the moment everything changed.

“It was on October 11, 2015. It was 3:30 a.m. when they suddenly they knocked on the door. I was sleeping, and I heard my mother and father coming to wake me up. There were many police officers, more than 10. They said nothing except that I had to come with them. My mother and father tried to ask what happened, what I did, but the officers only responded with ‘she knows.’ I know I did nothing wrong, so I didn’t understand what was happening. It was very frightening, I thought maybe it was a case of mistaken identity.”

“They took me to the police station in Nazareth, where I waited in the yard until 6 a.m. As I waited, every officer who passed by said something hurtful. ‘You look like a terrorist,’ I got a lot...

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For Arab citizens, 'Jewish and democratic' means demographic war

While much of the world justly focuses on land theft in the occupied territories, we must not forget that Israel uses the pretense of ‘Jewish and democratic’ to actively dispossess its own Arab citizens.

Israeli citizens who may be feeling doubtful about the efficiency of their country’s institutions should take a hard look at the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Division.

According to Haaretz, the division has set forth a new plan to establish Jewish towns adjacent to Arab communities in the Negev Desert and the Galilee, in such a way that would hamper the development of the latter.

The Settlement Division, funded entirely by the Israeli government, is the most accurate representation of the regime’s ability to envision and implement its long-term thinking. Established following the 1967 war in order to “export” Israeli knowledge and experience in “redeeming the land,” the division is also the most precise articulation of Israel’s ethnocratic colonialism, as well as its attempt to engineer the country for the benefit of Jewish supremacy. Or in other words: its “Jewish and democratic” nature. After receiving a mandate to begin work on the Galilee and the Negev, the settlement division has continued its work unabated. The goal might be new, but the policy has never actually changed.

The new plan won’t surprise those who refuse to be blind to the demographic war Israel has been waging against its Arab citizens — primarily but not exclusively through its land policies — since the state’s founding. “Jewish and democratic” is one hell of a beast, and it demands both demographic and geographic domination.

The Settlement Division’s plan reminded me of something a Palestinian friend once told me. “In your ‘Jewish and democratic’ hallucination,” he said, “the ‘democratic’ aspect is far more dangerous to us than the ‘Jewish’ one.” He is right, of course. Were we to get rid of Israel’s “democratic” nature, we would get full-blown apartheid in which the minority rules forcefully over the oppressed majority — which lives in quasi-autonomous enclaves — through discriminatory laws. Who knows, perhaps the world would have put an end to this shameful reality long ago.

But the pretense of imposing Jewish supremacy through “democracy” is what truly dictates the demographic war. One that will allow for Jewish control through ostensibly democratic means, rather than through “exceptional measures,” such as in an apartheid regime.

It’s not that Israel ever refrained from using such “exceptional measures.” The process...

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IDF bans laptops, food, toiletries for Palestinians leaving Gaza

Palestinians are no longer allowed to bring sandwiches with them when exiting the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military has instituted a travel ban on food, toiletries and most electronic devices for Palestinians exiting the Gaza Strip.

The army sent the new directive to Gisha, an Israeli NGO that promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians, a day before it went into effect earlier this month.

The directive was not, however, published in the “Status of Closure Authorizations,” a document meant to inform Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank about restrictions on movement.

Not even USB drives

Even Palestinians traveling abroad, who must take a bus directly from the Gaza border — through Israel — to Jordan, are subject to the new restrictions.

Palestinians in Gaza are no longer allowed to bring their laptops, toiletries or hard-sided luggage when exiting Gaza through the only regularly active passenger border terminal, Israel’s Erez crossing. Even Palestinians traveling to conferences, for business, or for studies abroad are not allowed to bring laptop computers.

“Every Tuesday there is an organized ride from Erez Crossing for those who want to travel abroad, which takes them directly to Allenby Bridge so that they can go on to Jordan. Most of [the passengers] are students, especially at this time of the year,” said Gisha’s Intake Coordinator Shadi Butthish. “These are people who are traveling to get graduate degrees because Israeli policy does not allow Palestinian undergraduate students to travel.”

“Naturally, they would need to take laptops and tablets with them on their travels,” Butthish continued. “Even USBs will need to remain behind in the Strip. People who are flying abroad for a few years won’t be able to bring their electric shavers.”

Non-Palestinians are exempt from the new restrictions, as long as they declare any electronic devices included in their luggage.

Israel has held Gaza under a strict blockade since 2007, after Hamas won an election in the Strip and took over the enclave. Since then, it has restricted basic goods from entering Gaza, and has significantly limited the number of people who can enter and exit the Strip — effectively cutting it off from the rest of the world. After the 2014 Gaza war, Israel pledged to join international efforts to rehabilitate Gaza, saying it would ease the passage of goods and people to and from the Strip.

The Israeli army sent the following response:

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Why Jewish Israelis should stand with the head of Israel's Islamic Movement

I’m no supporter of Sheikh Raed Salah, but as Jewish Israelis we have an enormous responsibility to state loudly and clearly that which our privilege still permits us. That means opposing political persecution when we see it.

Two years ago Israel outlawed one of the largest popular associations in the country, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement. In the days that followed, authorities quickly moved to shut down dozens of affiliated charitable organizations, women’s organizations, media outlets, and educational and childcare programs. Hardly a word of protest was uttered by the Jewish population in Israel.

Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement, was arrested for the umpteenth time this week. Salah has become a regular target for Israeli authorities over the years, to the point that his frequent arrests aren’t barely newsworthy anymore.

According to media reports about Sheikh Raed Salah’s many previous arrests, he has been investigated for making statements including: “Al-Aqsa is in danger”; “the occupation will disappear”; and for making calls to “free Palestinian prisoners.” There’s not a statement among them that I wouldn’t gladly put my name on myself.

So why does practically nobody among Israel’s Jewish population find problematic the almost routine arrest of one the country’s more influential popular leaders? Because he’s accused of incitement, and that sounds pretty logical to the vast majority of people — by virtue of the fact that he has been arrested so many times on suspicion of incitement. Tautology at its finest.

Israeli authorities count on the public coming to the conclusion that, if Salah has been arrested so many times, surely he is dangerous. The same phenomenon of blind trust and acceptance exists with regards to administrative detention: if administrative detainees have been imprisoned for years, surely they are terrorists. And that’s exactly how most of the Jewish Israeli public thinks of administrative detainees, as terrorists, despite the fact that they have never been convicted, let alone even indicted or given a chance to defend themselves.

It’s a tried and tested system.

The bottom line is that every part of the Arab population in Israel is in the establishment’s cross-hairs. The state is engaged in open warfare against one out of every five of its own citizens. That means that for much of what we, Jews, can say relatively freely (not that there aren’t attempts to change...

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Former attorney general stands with Palestinians facing eviction

Former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair, whose former family home in Jerusalem is now occupied by Palestinians facing eviction, says he will reclaim the property in order to legally hand it over to them.

The feeling of déjà vu that enveloped the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah last Thursday was especially somber. Here we were, once again, standing around on a Friday afternoon, struggling against the eviction and dispossession of Palestinian families. Eight years have passed since the first wave of evictions and the large protests in the neighborhood — eight years in which not a single family has been removed from their home. And now the clouds of dispossession are gathering once again, threatening the home of the Shamanseh family.

Over the past decade Sheikh Jarrah has become one of the focal points of the attempt to Judaize East Jerusalem by messianic right-wing organizations. Doing so isn’t much of a task: in the war against the weakest residents of the city, the state gives its backing to those organizations.

What about the homes in West Jerusalem?

The backstory of the dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah captures the moral injustices that lie at the heart of the Zionist legal system. Until the 1948 war, the land on which some of the families live today belonged to Jews, just as neighborhoods such as Talbiya and Bak’a, which became Jewish neighborhoods after 1948, belonged to Palestinians. After the war, the homes that belonged to Jews were taken over by the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property, which rented them out to Palestinians. After Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, the land was transferred back to Jewish hands. This time, the Palestinian families remained in the homes, and began paying rent to the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property.

But as opposed to the original owners of the upscale “Arab homes” in Talbiya and Bak’a, who lost all legal rights to their property, Israel still allows the Jewish landowners in Sheikh Jarrah to reclaim their property, while evicting the Palestinians who have been living in those homes since the 1950s and 60s. A number of right-wing organizations, founded by right-wing extremist Arieh King, are working tirelessly to find either the original owners or their successors, while providing them with legal assistance to help reclaim the homes. The Israeli Custodian happily goes along with the charade.

Several families have already been evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in precisely this manner. The Shamanseh...

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Conscientious objector: 'I refuse to be a tool of the gov't'

Hadas Tal is the latest Israeli to publicly refuse to join the Israeli army because of its human rights violations against Palestinians. Before heading to prison, she speaks about her about her family’s reaction, the potential consequences of her decision, and why so many conscientious objectors are women.

Hadas Tal showed up to the Israeli army induction base at Tel Hashomer outside of Tel Aviv Monday morning to declare her refusal to be drafted into the IDF. She will likely be sentenced to prison, where she will join Noa Gur Golan, another draft refuser who was sentenced to 30 days last week — her second stint.

I caught up with Hadas on Sunday as she made her final preparations before near-certain imprisonment the next morning. The humor and calm that she exhibited in our conversation surprised me. She’s going to prison the next day, after all. It’s clear to me that she has prepared herself practically and also mentally, including by speaking with other refusers who have been sent to military prison recently.

“I met with both Tamars (Alon and Ze’evi), Atalya and Tair, and also Noa before she went back to prison. I also went to preparatory meetings put on by the ‘Mesarvot’ network, so I feel ready and like I know what’s going to happen. I got a few good tips from the other refusers — mostly to remember that discipline in prison is a game of sorts and that you need to know how to play it; don’t let it get to you, and remember the reason I am there to begin with. Tamar Alon gave me a few helpful tips about how to pack my bag, for which I’ll thank her — those are things I wouldn’t have thought of,” she adds, chuckling.

Hadas, 18, lives in Kibbutz Yifat in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. She has a twin sister who is supposed to finish basic training in the army on Monday — who tried unsuccessfully to get special permission to see Hadas off to prison — and a younger brother who is about to start the 10th grade.

In her refusal statement Hadas wrote:

I assume that the high school you went to has a strong military ethos. How did those around you react to your refusal to be drafted?

It wasn’t a big surprise for my family, we’ve been talking about...

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