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  • Freed Israeli conscientious objector: They tried to break me

    Uriel Ferera says he doesn't feel like he lost the 177 days that he spent in military prison. 'The opposite. I fought for my principles — to not lend a hand to the occupation.' By Daniel Beller After 177 days in Israeli military prison and 10 trials, ideological conscientious objector Uriel Ferera is a free man. When Ferera arrived at an IDF induction base on Sunday he was under the impression that he would be heading back to jail for an eleventh time. Instead, he was told that the IDF was releasing him from military service for “incompatibility on the basis of…

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  • [WATCH] The Druze in Israel: Resisting conscription (part 4)

    According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The fourth part of this series looks at a new movement of young Druze women and men who challenging both the state and their predecessors by refusing to join the army. Watch parts one ('A history lesson'), two ('Land expropriation') and three ('Appropriating identity') of this series. Related: Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad released from military service Activists show solidarity with latest…

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  • Israeli conscientious objector ends hunger strike citing abuse

    Prison guards put Udi Segal in isolation and threatened him with trumped up charges, alleges the jailed conscientious objector now serving his fifth term in Israeli military prison. Israeli conscientious objector Udi Segal stopped his hunger strike over the weekend, citing what he described as abuse by guards in the Israeli army's "Prison 6." Segal began his fifth prison term last Thursday when he once again registered his refusal to serve in the Israeli army for reasons of conscience, declaring a hunger strike to protest his continued and repeated imprisonment. Since the start of his latest prison term Segal has…

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  • WATCH: Israeli teen refuses to serve in army, likely to face jail time

    Dozens of supporters, including past refusers, hold demonstration outside Haifa draft board office in solidarity with 19-year-old Udi Segal. By Moriel Rothman-Zecher and Yuval Orr For the past month, the news in Israel/Palestine has been filled with reports of more and more people killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians. As much of Israeli society is swept up in the fever of the most recent war on Gaza, there are those voices that refuse to accept a present, or future, filled with violence, occupation, fear and hostility. One of those voices belongs to Udi Segal, a 19-year-old Israeli from Kibbutz…

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  • Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa'ad released from military service

    Six months after he was sentenced to his first prison term for refusing to join the IDF, Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa'ad was released from military service on Wednesday. Sa'ad, an 18-year-old violist from the northern village Maghar, was sentenced to his first term on December 5th, 2013 in the Tiberias induction base. Since then, he was sentenced six more times for a total of 150 days. Sa'ad first stated his intention to refuse in late 2012, when he sent an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which declared his support for Palestinians under occupation, as well as his opposition to…

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  • IDF denied draft refuser letters, access to his lawyer

    'The sergeant told him that he cannot make a call because he is a military prisoner, and that he cannot use the phone because he didn't wear his hat on time,' Ferera's lawyer says. By Daniel Beller Uriel Ferera, the young Orthodox conscientious objector who was sentenced to military jail for refusing to join the Israeli army, says he was made to stand almost completely naked while his guards laughed at him. Furthermore, the guards ridiculed his faith and humiliated him while he prayed. Later, the IDF prevented Ferea from receiving letters, emails and faxes in support of his refusal.…

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  • Druze conscientious objector hospitalized with liver infection

    Omar Sa'ad was hospitalized late last week after complaining for three straight days of chest pains. Attempts by military intelligence to transfer him to Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital failed after both his family and medical staff protested the life-threatening decision. Omar Sa'ad, a Druze conscientious objector who is currently serving his seventh prison term for refusing to join the Israeli army, was hospitalized in Haifa last week with a liver infection. According to a report by Raanan Shemesh Forshner, two policemen are currently guarding Sa'ad's hospital room "so that he does not escape." On Saturday, while he was still undergoing treatments, military police…

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  • WATCH: Druze draft refuser sentenced to 6th prison term

    Omar Sa’ad, an 18-year-old Druze citizen of Israel, was sentenced a sixth, 20-day prison term last week for refusing to be drafted into the Israeli army as a conscientious objector. Before his sixth sentencing, Sa’ad had already served 100 days in the Israeli army's “Prison 6.” Dozens of supporters gathered on a hillside overlooking the prison to show their support and solidarity with Sa’ad earlier this month. Members of a new group of Jewish refusers also joined the protest and described Sa’ad as a role model who gave them strength in their own struggle against military conscription. Related: Israeli teens tell…

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  • WATCH: Is the IDF the 'great equalizer' of Israeli society?

    One of the foundational myths of the State of Israel is that regardless of one's ethnic or socio-economic background, recruitment into the army was the way to create social mobility that would place everyone on an equal playing field. Today, minority groups such as Ethiopian, Bedouin and Druze continue trying to integrate into society through military service. But it turns out that exclusion in Israeli society is more powerful than the military ethos, leaving many minorities asking why they should die for a state that excludes them from its culture, economy and educational system. Related: Poverty in the IDF: Thousands…

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  • Outside prison, protesters demand conscientious objectors be freed

    Demonstrators play music and sing songs to inmates in 'Military Prison 6' in a show of support for Omar Sa'ad and other draft refusers. Similar vigils take place in cities across Israel, Palestine and abroad. About 100 Palestinian and Jewish protestors gathered on the hilltop overlooking Israel's 'Military Prison 6' Saturday afternoon, calling for the release of Omar Sa'ad and all other conscientious objectors. Sa'ad, a violin player from the village of Maghar who has thus far been given two 20-day prison sentences for refusing the draft, has become a symbol of Druze resistance to conscription. Three other Druze objectors…

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  • Druze youth likely headed to prison for conscientious objection

    Omar Sa'ad reports to Israeli army induction base and announces his refusal to enlist. He is expected to be sentenced to prison. Sa'ad has declared his refusal to be 'both nationally and conscientiously motivated.' "I was raised first and foremost as a human being, and as such I feel that I cannot possibly aim an assault weapon at any other human being, be it Arab, Jewish or whomever, and so it has always been clear to me that I will not be able to join the army," says Omar Sa'ad, a young Druze viola player from the village of Maghar. Sa'ad is…

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  • Druze teen to Netanyahu: 'I will not be a soldier in your army'

    Omar Saad, a young Druze from the town of Maghar in northern Israel declared his refusal to serve in the IDF in late 2012. Although the Druze are considered to be an ethnic group that has assimilated well in the Israeli community, the voices of refusal within the community are becoming stronger. In an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saad writes that he opposes the idea of conscription by law for members of the Druze community, as it forces them to fight against their Arab brothers. Israel Social TV is an independent media NGO working to promote social change, human rights, social justice and equality, and to mobilize its…

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