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Israeli conscientious objector sent to prison for seventh time

Adam Rafaelov will have served a total of 87 days in prison for refusing to join the IDF over its ‘continual, violent, and oppressive rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.’

By +972 Magazine Staff

Israeli conscientious objector Adam Rafaelov. (Mesarvot)

Israeli conscientious objector Adam Rafaelov. (Mesarvot)

An IDF disciplinary body sentenced Israeli conscientious objector Adam Rafaelov to 10 days in military prison last Friday for his refusal to be conscripted. Rafaelov, 18, from Kiryat Motzkin in northern Israel, has been sent to prison seven times since July when he was first sentenced. Upon completing his current sentence, Rafaelov will have served a total of 87 days behind bars.

Military conscription is mandatory for most Jewish Israelis.

“The regime used violence to implement its economic interests or its nationalist ideology,” Rafaelov wrote in his initial refusal statement. “The Israeli regime justifies its violence toward Palestinians by claiming it is defending the Jewish homeland. But it is impossible to justify continual, violent, and oppressive rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli public has been ruling over the fate of the Palestinians, who have been deprived of their basic human rights.”

“Israel prides itself on being the ‘most moral army in the world,’ but there is nothing moral about occupation and oppression. Military rule, poor living conditions, home demolitions, siege — all these are part of Palestinian daily life under a discriminatory, fascist occupier. I refuse to take part in a system that goes against my worldview. I refuse to allow this system to continue to exist without resistance.”

Rafaelov is being supported by Mesarvot — Refusing to Serve the Occupation, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the IDF in protest at the occupation.

Rafaelov joins Hillel Garmi, 18, who has served over 100 days in military prison for refusing to join the army. Over the last few months, Garmi has exchanged public letters with Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the Great Return March in Gaza, in which he called for a joint struggle to reach a solution that “draw[s] its legitimacy from universal principles of justice.”

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      Adam, take heart, many people admire you and consider you among the bravest and strongest Israelis, capable of doing the hardest thing. It is the easiest thing for a young man to join the IDF and go along and get ahead. What you are doing is far, far more difficult. You are great.

      Reply to Comment
    2. itshak Gordine

      It would be so much easier to give him the choice: army or prison for an equivalent time

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        I think they thought about doing that but then realized that it would be too much like treating him like a Palestinian, And nobody could stomach that; and it would send a message nobody wanted to send; and then somebody piped up and said “Wait a minute, he’s Jewish, you can’t treat him like that!” And that was the end of that.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Fiona

      A man with a conscience, very rare today. He must be free not to oppress, torture and steal from others. This policy is shameful.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jackal

      To Abrams:
      It is very pathetic that Israeli Jews know so little about their history. The DNA of Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinians is more that 95% compatible. That is, you have the same family background going back centuries. Here is a brief paragraph from Wikipedia. Read and Learn.

      “The Palestinian people (also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs are an ethnonational group comprising the modern descendants of the peoples who have lived in Palestine over the centuries, including Jews and Samaritans, and who today are largely culturally and linguistically Arab. Despite various wars and exoduses [expulsions] (such as that in 1948), roughly one half of the world’s Palestinian population continues to reside in historic Palestine, the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. In this combined area, Palestinians constituted 49% [comment: This percentage would be significantly higher if you included all of the Palestinians in nearby Jordan, Lebanon and other Arab states] of all inhabitants, encompassing the entire population of the Gaza Strip (1.865 million), the majority of the population of the West Bank (approximately 2,785,000 versus about 600,000 Jewish Israeli citizens).

      Reply to Comment
    5. Leo

      Take heart, noble young man, you are not alone and you inspire people to hope and think.

      I cannot wait for true peace to come. People say I am a dreamer (at best) or they insult me, but people like you have the right stuff to make it happen.

      Reply to Comment
    6. G-d Bless you Adam. I admire and am (unjustly) proud of your heart and mind. Your parents must be kvelling often. You do us all a great service with your example of, real, courage.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jo

      “Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most prized possession—their ignorance.”
      Hendrick van Loon

      Reply to Comment