‘I refuse to join an army that has, since it was established, been engaged in dominating another nation': Interview with Israeli refuser Noam Gur

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
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Friend and contributor Dena Shunra put us in contact with Noam Gur, currently undergoing the process of refusing to serve in the Israeli army. Noam is an 18 years old, queer feminist vegan activist currently living in Kiryat Motzkin, near Haifa, but was born and raised in Nahriyya, near Akka and the Lebanese border.

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Noam Gur Hebron Photo:Eshraq Hajo

Annie: When did you first realize you didn’t want to serve in the military?

Noam: When I was about 15 years old I started understanding what was really happening in Palestine and Israel, after years of being told scary stories and lies by the educational system, the family, and Israeli society in general. At that stage, I believed that something like “enlightened occupation” could actually exist – in other words, that I’d go to the army and serve anywhere I’m sent, but that I’d do that with pity, compassion and “a smile”, that I wouldn’t hurt anyone without cause, and I’d refuse to obey illegal orders, etc.

That stage passed pretty quickly, when I understood there was not really any such thing as an enlightened occupation, and that in order to stop the occupation and work for peace I had to decide not to operate in the Occupied Territories. That phase passed pretty quickly, too.

When I was about 16, I understood that the only right way to act was to refuse completely to take part in the military, for the reasons I indicated in the declaration that I have attached.

Annie:  Are your parents activists or are they supportive in your decision?

Noam:  To tell you the truth, my parents are really not activists. Both my parents served in the army, my father was even a warrior and was wounded in the first Lebanon War. My big sister also served in the army, in a Border Patrol unit, at the Erez Crossing. My parents do not support the decision, but they are thoroughly aware of the fact that it is my decision, and that they cannot influence it. I do not know what will happen when the date of my imprisonment approaches and if the issue becomes one of public interest – that could hurt the, and turn them into a target. It is also entirely possible that my mother would decide that as long as I’m refusing, I don’t belong in her household.

Annie: Dena references the process of refusal as “torturous”, can you elaborate? Are you still in this process? It repeats itself from what I understand, is that correct?

Noam: Ok, this is a bit on the long side. The process of refusing is indeed long and tiresome, as Dena said it was. About a year ago I got the first call-up date. That’s a day when youths come [to a draft board-style of location] and the question of whether they are fit for [military] service is determined. It was decided that I am fit for military purpose. Then I went to a thing called a Conscience Board [ethics or conscientious objection board], a committee that on principle releases only radical pacifists, but I thought I should give it a try even if I’m not a pacifist. The army has recently refused my application to be seen by the board.

The date of my enlistment is April 16th. On that day I will go to the Ramat Gan Draft Bureau and declare my refusal to be drafted. In the course of that day I’ll be judged by a minor officer, in a kind of shortened trial that is primarily for show, and I’ll be sent to military prison for a period of between 7 days and a month. Then I’ll be released from prison, and I’ll have to go back to Ramat Gan, declare again that I refuse to be drafted, be judged to serve another week to a month, and again and again, until either I or the army gives up. If I give up first, I’ll have to see a military psychologist, and persuade him that I am not mentally capable of service. If the army gives up force (which is what I hope will happen, of course, but hasn’t happened for quite a lot of time) I’ll be released for “unsuitability” [or “failing to fit in” or “adjustment failure”]. There is a small chance that the army will decide to send me to court, which would mean that I could be imprisoned for a long time (the most time refusers were sentenced two was two years, in 2003). By the way, repeated jailing for the same offense is considered unlawful by the U.N., and it constitutes gross violation of human rights. So yes, we’ve repeated go-arounds in prison, which could take a lot of time. The last of the well-know refusers, a Druze guy from Beit Jan, was sent to seven rounds of prison before the army released him.

Phil: I admire you and want to believe I might have been as courageous as you, in similar circumstances…
Maya and Neta spoke of the incredible social isolation they face. They were making a hugely unpopular decision in a society that believes it needs a strong military to survive. Can you speak at all about your social isolation? Have you lost friends? Who has given you support? Have you been scorned/attacked?

Noam: It’s a little hard for me to respond to this, because I have only recently decided to make a public declaration of refusal, but yes – Israeli society does not greet this with a smile at all. The opposite is true.

I haven’t run into any actual violence, but I did indeed come across silencing, at school, for example. Not serving in the military was a subject that could not even be discussed. I assume that I’ll start running across violence the closer I come to refusing, and if and when the story makes it into the media or the social media. I don’t know if people broke off contact with me, but since everyone in my class is in the army now, or about to be drafted, I did not see much point in keeping in touch with most of them. So yes, there is no doubt that there’s a feeling of isolation from society. I get quite a bit of support from activists, Jews and Palestinians, but unfortunately there are only few such activists, so that the support is limited.
There’s also the organization New Profile, which is important for me to note: it accompanies refusers in the refusal process, and helped me a lot, from the beginning of the road to this day, with lawyers, information, support, etc.

Annie:  Noam, when you say it could turn your parents into a target what do you mean? Is there a precedence for this? Do you mean society shuns them? Your mother possibly deciding you do not belong in her household sounds devastating.

Noam: I think that society will eventually blame them for my refuse, “how could they have a daughter that “betray” her own society”? It happened in past years, families of refusniks received hate letters, hate graffiti on the house walls etc. To be honest, Israel is becoming less tolerance for other views, “price tags” are now common against individuals and that’s something I’m keeping in mind, that someone can choose to target me or my family. My mom basically told me that she’d rather I leave the house if I’m going to get involved with jail and the army police, since she does not support this. That happened two years ago too, one of the refusnik’s was kicked out of the house short while before his jail time.

I used to laugh with mom (she did not find that funny though) that she’ll be so much prouder if I die or be kidnapped during a war. The Israeli society still worship the dead far more the the living. I’m not sure if I mentioned that but the refuse date is pretty bad – it’s the month of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Memorial Day for IDF soldiers and the Israeli independence day. April is always a month when you can see how much Israel invests in the dead.

Annie: The more I know, the more daunting it seems to me, what you are going through.

Noam: I just wanna point out that I’m not going through this process as an heroic action. I really do believe that this kind of public action and support for the non-violent resistance could make a (small) difference. I could, indeed, just go to a mental officer and be released in a few days, but that would mean cooperating with the army silencing system.

Annie: What is the army silencing system?

Noam: The Israeli army is doing everything it can in order to silence any kind of criticism. Sending refusniks to mental officers, for example. People feel like they can just go to a mental officer without jail and it will have the same effect and final result – getting a release of the army. I will not be silenced, I will let people know that I oppose this terrible crimes and make my refuse public, instead of just getting out of the army in the easiest way possible.

Annie: Thank you very much Noam. It’s very brave what you are doing. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

  Below is Noam Gur’s refusal statement published here for the first time:

אני מסרבת לקחת חלק בצה”ל, כי אני מסרבת להצטרף לצבא שמאז הקמתו עסוק בשליטה בעם אחר, גזל, והטלת טרור על אוכלוסייה אזרחית הנמצאת תחת שליטתו. ההרס והנישול השיטתי כחלק ממדיניות טרנספר ארוכת שנים, רצח מפגנים לא אלימים, חומת האפרטהייד, “מבצעי” הטבח שצה”ל בוחר לבצע ושאר הפרות זכויות האדם היומיות של הפלסטינים הובילו וממשיכים להוביל למעגל דמים ארוך וסתמי שניתן למניעה.

במשך שנים נאמר לי ששליטה זו אמורה להגן עליי, אך המידע אודות הסבל הנגרם כתוצאה מהטרור המופעל על האוכלוסייה הפלסטינית נשמט מהסיפור. הדרך לפירוק האפרטהייד והשגת שלום אמיתי וצודק היא ארוכה וקשה, אך פעולות אלו של צה”ל רק מרחיקות אותו, לתפיסתי. העם הפלסטיני מתחיל להיאבק יותר ויותר בעשור האחרון בדרכים לא-אלימות מתוך הבנה זו, ואני בוחרת להצטרף לדרך זו, ולפנות למאבק עממי לא אלים בפלסטין, במקום לשרת בצה”ל ולהמשיך את האלימות.

I refuse to take part in the Israeli army because I refuse to join an army that has, since it was established, been engaged in dominating another nation, in plundering and terrorizing a civilian population that is under its control. The systematic destruction and dispossession that form part of a long-established policy of population-transfer, murder of non-violent demonstrators, the Apartheid wall, the massacre “operations” that the Israeli army chooses to carry out, and the rest of the daily violations of the human rights of the Palestinians have led, and continue to lead, to a long, indefinite, and preventable cycle of bloodshed.

For years I have been told that this control is supposed to protect me, but information about the suffering caused due to terrorizing the Palestinian population is omitted from the story. The road to dismantling this Apartheid and achieving true and just peace is long, and hard, but as I see it, these actions by the Israeli army only push it further away. Over this past decade, the Palestinian people have been increasingly choosing the path of nonviolent resistance, and I choose to join this path and to turn to a popular, nonviolent struggle in Palestine – this, rather than to serve in the Israeli army and continue the violence.

أنا ارفض الخدمة في جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي لأني ارفض الانضمام لجيش الذي عمل منذ قيامه على الهيمنة على شعب أخر, سرقته وعلى فرض الإرهاب على الناس العزل الموجودون تحت سيطرته. وعمل على الهدم, السلب المنهجي كجزء من سياسة التهجير المتبعة منذ سنين, قتل متظاهرين عزل, بناء جدار الفصل العنصري, “حملات” القتل التي يتبعها جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي والعديد من انتهاكات أليوميه لحقوق الإنسان الفلسطيني التي قادت وما زالت تقود نحو سكب المزيد من الدماء وبشكل متواصل الذي لا يمكن إيقافه.

قيل لي على مر السنين أن هذا هيمنة وجدت لحمايتي, لكن المعلومات عن الإرهاب الذي يمارس ضد الشعب الفلسطيني لم تصل إلى أذني. الطريق إلى تفكيك نظام الفصل العنصري وتحقيق السلام الحقيقي والعادل هو طويل وصعب, ولكن في وجهة نظري, الأعمال التي بقوم بها جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي تبعدنا أكثر وأكثر عن تحقيق هذا الهدف.

في العقد الأخير بدأ الشعب الفلسطيني في النضال أكثر وأكثر في طرق سلميه انطلاقا من فهمه لهذا الأمر, وأنا اخترت للانضمام في هذا الاتجاه, نحو مناهضه شعبية سلميه, بدلا من الخدمة في جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي، ومواصلة العنف.

(Hat tip Dena Shunra)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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65 Responses

  1. Izik
    March 12, 2012, 3:37 pm

    It seems to me that Noam is projecting her own personal demons on the IDF and Israeli society.
    I sincerely wish her all the best and for her to find internal happiness.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 12, 2012, 3:44 pm

      personal demons?

      • Izik
        March 12, 2012, 5:27 pm

        It is not uncommon for people who feel alienated from society to reject it. I hope that she will choose to perform civil service. Connecting with one’s community gives one a more balanced and holistic outlook on life.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 12, 2012, 5:45 pm

        rejecting israeli society ?

        been engaged in dominating another nation, in plundering and terrorizing a civilian population that is under its control

        i think she is rejecting what the army does. maybe she doesn’t think this is defense.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 12, 2012, 5:47 pm

        Connecting with one’s community gives one a more balanced and holistic outlook on life.

        Connecting with one’s community thru participation in occupation and domination of palestinians gives one a more balanced and holistic outlook on life?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 12, 2012, 5:55 pm

        ‘It is not uncommon for people who feel alienated from society to reject it. ”

        It’s also common to reject your society when you realize that it’s governing ideolgy is evil and it is being run by racists and psychopaths.

      • Izik
        March 13, 2012, 3:36 am

        “Connecting with one’s community thru participation in occupation and domination of palestinians gives one a more balanced and holistic outlook on life?”

        I was referring to civil-service. It should be possible for her, should she choose to refuse military service, to perform civil service (e.g., volunteer in a hospital, volunteer in a boarding school, etc’). I hope that she chooses to contribute instead of isolate herself.

      • Sherri Munnerlyn
        March 13, 2012, 6:49 am

        I see her actions in refusing to participate in military service and the way she is doing it as “giving her a more balanced and holistic outlook on life.” She sees the disaster the Occupation is and shows by her acts there is another way, the path of nonviolence. I see her acts as courageous and admirable, and an affirmative statement of the humanity of all persons inside Israel/Palestine. As she has stated, she believes her actions in refusing to serve in the army can make a difference, and she is doing what she can with her life to make a difference.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 13, 2012, 7:14 am

        “It should be possible for her, should she choose to refuse military service, to perform civil service (e.g., volunteer in a hospital, volunteer in a boarding school, etc’)”

        So she should help prop up an evil state?

      • Izik
        March 13, 2012, 7:24 am

        If she has such a moral issue with the “occupation”, she can request a posting that doesn’t relate to it. For example, she can serve in the “home front” corps, dealing with civil defense procedures, or join the education corps and help troubled youth with their army experience. There are plenty of opportunities for her.

        I think she took the easy way out.
        Like Oleg said, in Israel’s individualistic society, she will suffer little grief from society for not serving.

      • Izik
        March 13, 2012, 8:31 am

        “So she should help prop up an evil state?”
        So volunteering with youth or at a hospital is now considered “propping up” an evil state?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 13, 2012, 9:24 am

        “So volunteering with youth or at a hospital is now considered ‘propping up’ an evil state?”

        If it furthers the evil goal of the Zionist state, then yes. If it frees up one person to take an active role in the on-going destruction of the Palestinians and their culture, then yes. If it grants legitimacy to the racism that is Zionism, then yes.

        If she really wants to help humanity, she will fight to destroy the zionist evil that has been running rampant and committing crimes against humanity against the rightful owners of the land for generations. If she wants to help humanity, she will fight for a system whereby the human, political and civil rights of everyone from the Jordan to the Med are respected and where all are treated equally without regard to nationality, religion or ethnicity.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 13, 2012, 10:35 am

        So volunteering with youth or at a hospital is now considered “propping up” an evil state?

        as noam explains in the interview:

        Annie: What is the army silencing system?

        Noam: The Israeli army is doing everything it can in order to silence any kind of criticism. Sending refusniks to mental officers, for example. People feel like they can just go to a mental officer without jail and it will have the same effect and final result – getting a release of the army. I will not be silenced, I will let people know that I oppose this terrible crimes and make my refuse public, instead of just getting out of the army in the easiest way possible.

        wouldn’t volunteering at a hospital be part of the silencing system? it effectively stashes those who refuse to be part of the occupation by giving them something else to fulfill their requirement thereby silencing their decent. that’s not a protest.

      • Izik
        March 13, 2012, 11:48 am

        “If it furthers the evil goal of the Zionist state”
        Well… I am really at a loss for words. If you think volunteering with old people, troubled youth or the red cross is “evil”, then you are truly lost.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 13, 2012, 12:18 pm

        “Well… I am really at a loss for words.”

        Of course you are. You were probably brainwashed from a young age into your twisted ideology, so are confounded when the truth is revealed.

        “If you think volunteering with old people, troubled youth or the red cross is ‘evil’, then you are truly lost.”

        I see you purposefully misstate my point. I would love it if she worked with Palestinian old people, troubled youth or the red crescent/red cross, as there are many people in dire need of help, as a direct result of the evil and terror the Israelis inflict on them. If, on the other hand, by volunteering, it would free up an Israeli to be put in uniform to go commit more of your terror against the Gazans, then, no, I don’t want her to do that. Only a crazy or evil person would.

      • Izik
        March 13, 2012, 12:56 pm

        “Of course you are. You were probably brainwashed from a young age into your twisted ideology, so are confounded when the truth is revealed.”
        Yes. I was brainwashed to think that volunteering at hospitals is a “good thing”.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 13, 2012, 2:41 pm

        “Yes. I was brainwashed to think that volunteering at hospitals is a ‘good thing’.”

        I can see that rational thought is not your strong suit. Again, if Israeli Jews are volunteering, in hospitals or otherwise, to help the Palestinian in light of the terror you people inflict on them, then that is good. If you do it, and as a result, you free up some Jewish punk to put on an Israeli brown shirt to go terrorize Palestinians, as you people do every minute of every day, then that is a bad thing.

      • pabelmont
        March 14, 2012, 3:49 pm

        “I’m not sure if it’s possible. I think we’re at a place of no return. I really do think that if we want to change anything in the Israeli society, the pressure needs to be really, really strong from outside. That’s why I support the boycott, divestment and sanctions call. It’s really going to be hard to change it from within. I think it’s kind of impossible.” (EI on same subject).

        She wants the military policy to change and cannot believe (any more than I can) that it will change without STRONG PRESSURE FROM OUTSIDE, e.g., from the USA.

        This is a major disapproval of her society, a sort of rejection of it.

      • CigarGod
        March 19, 2012, 12:53 pm

        I’m sure by “personal demons”, Izik means her being a “queer feminist vegan activist”.
        He seems to imply it is a disorder…and discounts the beneficial aspects…like developing an acute awareness and empathy for others in society who have less than equal rights.

        He thinks he masked his demonization and discounting of her motives.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 12, 2012, 5:34 pm

      “It seems to me that Noam is projecting her own personal demons on the IDF and Israeli society.”

      No, she just recognizes that your country’s ideology is the real demon.

  2. pabelmont
    March 12, 2012, 3:46 pm

    If there were ten such brave people, would it save the world? Noam Gur, I am in awe.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 12, 2012, 4:01 pm

      yeah, really mindblowing isn’t she pabelmont. and to think of carrying this burden at such a young age, it must take an amazing kind of inner strength.

  3. Shmuel
    March 12, 2012, 4:15 pm

    בהצלחה, Noam. Your brave decision makes a difference. Please keep us posted.

  4. Pixel
    March 12, 2012, 4:28 pm

    Noam,

    I lost a beloved career and was disowned by my family for standing up for justice.

    It wasn’t a decision. I had no choice. Like many on this site, it was simply who I was – who I am.

    This is who you are.

    I honor that.

  5. eljay
    March 12, 2012, 5:12 pm

    >> Noam is an 18 years old, queer feminist vegan activist …

    I suspect that refusing to serve is not the first battle Ms. Gur has had to fight!

    Kudos to you, Ms. Gur, for being courageous.

  6. Newclench
    March 12, 2012, 5:16 pm

    One of the really nice things about this – in comparison to past efforts – the translation into Arabic.
    Yes it is very hard – but thank god there IS a platform in Israel to offer support. The New Profile movement is one of the leaders, but there are others. Pity the poor fools who refused in the olden days, when the only support group that existed was Yesh Gvul, which formally is only connected to reservists.

    • OlegR
      March 13, 2012, 5:48 am

      When did you do your bit Newclench?

      • eGuard
        March 13, 2012, 6:42 am

        OlegR: ad hominem.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 7:52 am

        Where ?
        I have no problem with refusniks or pacifists.

      • Newclench
        March 13, 2012, 10:30 am

        1988

  7. Real Jew
    March 12, 2012, 5:28 pm

    As brave an honorable as her actions maybe I doubt this will have any contagious effect on many others. We have seen this similar courageous acts by many individuals which have been met with contempt, harassment, death threats and in some cases violence. This blind nationalistic mentality is so ingrained in Israeli society that I’m afraid it will do little to start a trend.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 13, 2012, 7:16 am

      I think you are right. They appear to be culturally incapable of decency when it comes to their ideological project. Better to treat zionism as we did other, similarly odious ideologies in the past.

    • Pixel
      March 13, 2012, 11:10 am

      I disagree.

      Courage in any form is contagious.

      Unlike physical illness, however, it often plays out in distinctly different acts of personal courage.

  8. Real Jew
    March 12, 2012, 5:45 pm

    In addition, I find it disgraceful that a “democratic” country’s legal system is infested with laws that allow “criminals” to be re-incarcerated for the same crime. Absolutely despicable!.

    • Sherri Munnerlyn
      March 13, 2012, 6:58 am

      They do that in Iran, too. I always find it interesting the parallels between Fascist governments, they are so like each other. But, speaking of deplorable acts of governments, I just read that a 27 year old man died in February from a hunger strike in a prison in California, protesting prison conditions, overcrowding and denying prisoners needed medical treatment, that the US Supreme Court had found unconstitutional. link to democracynow.org

  9. seafoid
    March 12, 2012, 6:03 pm

    She reminds me of Sophie Scholl

    Militaristic insanity

    The same exclusion

    Being on the side of right when it is not popular

    • Izik
      March 13, 2012, 3:49 am

      “She reminds me of Sophie Scholl”
      Really…

      Scholl was executed for distributing anti-war leaflets.
      Gur will find a nice apartment in Tel-Aviv and live her life comfortably.

  10. ahadhaadam
    March 12, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Brave girl. Are there any numbers out there? I would speculate that refusing to serve in Israel is quite rare, despite a fairly lenient system. That’s the advantage of indoctrination since birth and a system of complete misinformation and brainwash that disguises crimes against humanity and oppression as “self defense”.

    And unfortunately, while deriding people like her, the Israelis and the Hasbara brigades will ignore her message as “naive” or “misinformed” and instead use it to compliment themselves: “you see, we even have bleeding heart liberals in Israel, while in other countries…” – it’s a flawless self-reaffirming system.

    Of course, I served myself, not knowing any better at the tender age of 18.

  11. piotr
    March 12, 2012, 6:11 pm

    How does state of Israel determine who has the duty to serve? Officially declared religion?

    Izik, I think it is peculiar to Israel to view a refusal to serve in the military as “rejection of the society”. There are many countries with compulsory military service, but to view the military as the centerpiece of the “community” is, well, peculiar.

    Imagine a young Aztec who doubts the wisdom of his community than only regular sacrifices of freshly captured war prisoners can avert the end of the world. Connection to the community is not always a better choice.

    • Izik
      March 13, 2012, 3:58 am

      ‘Izik, I think it is peculiar to Israel to view a refusal to serve in the military as “rejection of the society”.’

      Rejecting army service isn’t necessarily rejecting from society. In Gur’s case, I suspect that her decision not to join the army isn’t purely politically motivated and also has personal motivations.

      “How does state of Israel determine who has the duty to serve? Officially declared religion?”
      Israeli citizens have a duty to serve, with the Arabs exempted. Some Beduins and Duruz serve in the army, while non-Arab, non-Jewish citizens also serve in the army. Jewish ultra-orthodox men and females are exempt from military service. Men serve 3 years, women 2.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 6:19 am

        A small nudnik correction
        /Jewish ultra-orthodox men and females are exempt/

        They (the men that is ) are not exempt they are getting a reprieve if they declare that they want to study in eshiva, they renew this reprieve each year
        until the age of 28 (i could be wrong about the exact number) otherwise they are obligated to serve like the rest of us :)
        And thanks to Edna Arbel this is about to change into something new
        but that’s a whole different (state / religion) issue.

        The Arabs are exempt but they can volunteer if they wish to do so.

      • LeaNder
        March 13, 2012, 6:53 am

        Yes, “the Arabs” the alien element inside and outside.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 8:00 am

        They are not alien neither inside nor outside.
        Inside they are in a weird situation due to split loyalties ,
        but nonetheless they have full rights by the law even though their situation and integration into Israeli society must be improved.
        They are not the same as their brothers on the outside.
        They have changed and became a lot more like the rest of the Israeli
        whether they want to admit it or not.

        Outside they are in an ongoing national conflict with us which is yet to be resolved.

      • edwin
        March 13, 2012, 10:28 am

        They are not alien neither inside nor outside.

        And yet you use the language of the colonial master. They are Palestinian.

        Inside they are in a weird situation due to split loyalties ,
        but nonetheless they have full rights by the law even though their situation and integration into Israeli society must be improved.

        Full rights: Let’s see – right of return. Nope. I guess they don’t have full rights.

        Military Service: Many government preferences and benefits in Israel are conditioned on performing military service. Whilst military service is technicallycompulsory for all citizens, by discretion the vast majority (90%) of Palestinian Arabs are not required to serve; whereas the majority of Jews do. As a consequence, they do not receive the wide range of benefits, including larger mortgages, partial exemptions from course fees, and preferences for public employment and housing. The discriminatory factor is that in many cases the link between the benefit offered and the requirment for military service is tenuous, often as in employment opportunities, and that government offices provide benefits beyond what is legislated. The most celebrated example of this was the level of state child benefits, which until 1997 were conditioned on military service, rather than more obvious socio-economic factors. The impression that this is a mechanism for privileging Jews is borne out by the fact that Jewish Yeshiva students, who like Arab citizens do not serve, are granted the benefits anyway, a policy which has been upheld by the courts.(6

        link to arabhra.org

        They have changed and became a lot more like the rest of the Israeli
        whether they want to admit it or not.

        Outside they are in an ongoing national conflict with us which is yet to be resolved.

        They, they, they – Somehow I think that “they” get the point. Palestinians are second class citizens whom you, and Israel society view as the “other” to the point where you can’t even speak the word “Palestinian”.

        You have taken up the white man’s burden – as you have “changed” them for the better.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 12:24 pm

        /And yet you use the language of the colonial master. They are Palestinian./
        They call me a Jew not an Israeli (Because they are Israeli as well)
        i call them Arabs.
        Don’t try to be holier then the Pope.

        /Let’s see – right of return./
        We are talking about Israeli citizens where would you want them to return to?

        /, they do not receive the wide range of benefits, including larger mortgages, partial exemptions from course fees, and preferences for public employment and housing./
        This argument does not fly.
        They also don’t spent 2/3 years of their life running around the hills
        or endangering their lives.They can spend that time working
        studying etc.

        A country is allowed to give benefits to certain occupations especially dangerous ones.
        The Arabs are not forbidden to join the service and some of them
        (the Bedoins , the Druze) do and not all of the Jews
        serve as well.

        /They, they, they – Somehow I think that “they” get the point. Palestinians are second class citizens whom you, and Israel society view as the “other” to the point where you can’t even speak the word “Palestinian”./

        They are not second class citizens in the eyes of the law
        and their defacto imperfect status changes for the better on the ground all the time.
        Would you feel better if i called them the Palestinian Arabs citizens of Israel because that’s the full title?

        /You have taken up the white man’s burden – as you have “changed” them for the better./

        I didn’t say for the better i said more like us.(And we are more like them as well obviously)

        I just love it when people attribute to me their own prejudices.

      • edwin
        March 13, 2012, 2:05 pm

        /Let’s see – right of return./
        We are talking about Israeli citizens where would you want them to return to?

        The Nationality Law automatically grants citizenship to all Jews who have done so, and also to their spouses, children,s grandchildren, and all their spouses. This privilege is for Jews only. Palestinian Arabs can only get citizenship by birth, residence (after meetinga cumulative list of conditions) or naturalisation

        And so it goes on and on.

      • bigbill
        March 13, 2012, 7:51 am

        Interesting locution: “Citizens” have to serve but “Arabs” are exempt. Apparently there is no stigma to Arabs not serving. So why the stigma for Jews?

        One of the major reasons that Jews ran off from Russia to America was to dodge the draft. They didn’t want to do their duty as Russian citizens. Doesn’t this total reversal of Jewish morality seem quite bizarre? The reversal is so extreme that Jewish mamas now expelling their daughters from the houshold because they will not take up a gun and be prison guards over the largest walled goy prison on the earth?

        I don’t even think the Tsar wanted to draft and militarize young Jewish girls, did he? Can you just imagine the screaming uproar that would have caused in the Jewish klal! We would have had every Jew east of the Rhine river descending on America to dodge THAT draft!

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 13, 2012, 8:20 am

        “Apparently there is no stigma to Arabs not serving.”

        In the racist Zionist state, the vile official and unofficial bigotry against Arabs is based on their status as Arabs. Further stigma because they didn’t carry a weapon in support of their own dehumanization is unnecessary.

        Zionism = racism.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 8:24 am

        /Apparently there is no stigma to Arabs not serving./
        It’s the other way around actually.They get a stigma as collaborators
        by some in their surroundings.

        It is unreasonable to expect for Jewish citizens in Israel to feel resentment
        towards the Arab citizens over the issue of Army draft since our conflict
        is with their kin.
        There is resentment that they are not nearly enough contributing to alternative service in the Police (in their local communities for example that suffer from a high crime rate) the Hospitals
        Fire brigades etc.

        Regarding the Tzar comparison
        There is a slight difference between being forcefully drafted into the
        army of state that actively persecutes your people and denies you civil
        rights and being drafted to defend your own state where you are
        an equal citizen and whose ideas and ideology you share , and feel obliged
        to protect.
        I am sure you are smart enough can get that.

      • Shmuel
        March 13, 2012, 8:50 am

        There is a slight difference between being forcefully drafted into the
        army of state that actively persecutes your people and denies you civil
        rights and being drafted to defend your own state where you are
        an equal citizen and whose ideas and ideology you share , and feel obliged
        to protect.

        How about being drafted to defend a state that actively persecutes others and denies them civil rights?

      • LeaNder
        March 13, 2012, 9:47 am

        If we leave out for a while that history was slightly more complicated than both bigbill suggests and OlegR willingly embraces for argument’s sake. This subject seems to be a recurring theme. Good short summary by Yivo: Jews in the Russian army.pdf-file

        I’ll have to shut up now.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 10:38 am

        Shmuel
        Those who are unwilling to serve (whatever reason they have) won’t serve with little to no repercussions.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 10:42 am

        Page not found LeaNder, anything interesting there
        i have not read enough about the subject of Jews in the Tzarist army.

        And yes the point of discussion had little to do with the actual history.

      • Shmuel
        March 13, 2012, 10:56 am

        Those who are unwilling to serve (whatever reason they have) won’t serve with little to no repercussions.

        There are certainly repercussions to not serving (varying according to the circumstances of the exemption/discharge), although it is not that difficult these days to avoid the draft, especially for women. As Noam explains, however, it’s not just about not serving; it’s about the why and the how of not serving. It’s abut actively refusing to serve, as opposed to merely getting out of it. Were Israel to recognise the principle of conscientious objection, it might be different; but it doesn’t.

      • Shmuel
        March 13, 2012, 11:00 am

        Here’s the cleaned up link: link to yivoinstitute.org

        It’s an interesting article. Thanks, LeaNder.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 11:17 am

        /Were Israel to recognise the principle of conscientious objection/
        Israel releases pacifists from duty there are probably other recognized
        exceptions.

        /It’s abut actively refusing to serve, as opposed to merely getting out of it./
        Yes i get her point of view.She wants to make a seen statement
        and in the 80’s she would have.
        But now nobody cares, the whole gesture is meaningless to almost everyone
        except Noam and her parents.

        ps.
        10x for the article

      • Shmuel
        March 13, 2012, 12:35 pm

        Israel releases pacifists from duty

        Not by any reasonable definition. The IDF recognises only the most radical form of pacifism – the repudiation of all forms of violence, even in self-defence. The classic question Israeli objectors are asked is whether they would use violence to protect family members from being raped or killed. A positive answer means you are not a pacifist.

        there are probably other recognized exceptions

        Name one, apart from the exemption for Orthodox Jewish women.

        She wants to make a seen statement and in the 80′s she would have. But now nobody cares, the whole gesture is meaningless to almost everyone except Noam and her parents.

        It obviously means something to the state, or it would simply release her, without having to resort to the charade of a visit to the kaban (mental health officer). The principle matters to the state and it still matters to Israeli society – which remains highly militaristic, despite dropping numbers of conscripts – and it matters to those who will follow in her footsteps.

        In some ways, it’s easier than in the ’80s (e.g. the existence of New Profile, lots of kids who get out of the draft on the psychological/suitability ticket, a smaller but more radicalised left), and in some ways it’s harder – the atmosphere today is far more hysterical, self-righteous, and intolerant than it was back then.

  12. Talkback
    March 12, 2012, 6:42 pm

    The Judemographetnocracy imprisons Jews who refuse to oppress Nonjews. Reminds me of a time when people were imprisoned or even worse when they refused to oppress Jews.

  13. tombishop
    March 12, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Noam, as someone who was a draft resister (meaning I refused to acknowledge my draft notice from the military) in the U. S. during the Vietnam War, I understand what you are facing. It is a daunting experience to stand alone and remain true to your convictions when everyone around you ranges from looking at you as odd to open hostility.

    I spent 1971 to 1973 living underground, doing temp work, sometimes going hungry, depending on the kindness of strangers, but keeping on the move so the FBI couldn’t track me down. It is profoundly isolating (my family disowned me for ten years), but in the long run you will be vindicated because you are following your head AND your heart. Following your convictions regardless of the consequences is, in the end, most important to you. You are the one you ultimately have to answer to.

    See if you can find a network of like minded people who can support you. Eventually, my stand was vindicated by history and I’m sure yours will be too.

  14. OlegR
    March 13, 2012, 6:16 am

    What,
    saying that she is not a hero and not a martyr and that
    the consequences of her actions will have minimal impact on her future
    is controversial now?

    I am sorry but it happens to be the truth.

    Refusniks had a hard time in the 70’s the 80’s and the 90’s when Israel had
    a more socialist (all for one one for all) unity oriented society.
    But with the current individualistic culture that we live in
    she will get more grief in her life for being a queer than from this.

    • Pixel
      March 13, 2012, 11:01 am

      queer, not “a” queer.

      • OlegR
        March 13, 2012, 11:47 am

        Yes i guess you are right

  15. Justice Please
    March 13, 2012, 3:32 pm

    “Noam Gur, currently undergoing the process of refusing to serve in the Israeli army.”

    Bravo. Hopefully, more and more Israelis will do that.

  16. Mooser
    March 19, 2012, 1:50 pm

    I’m happy I didn’t have to deal with all these weighty questions in my draft-eligible days. But I had great personal objections to being shot at, and even greater personal objections to taking orders. And I would die before I took orders from a goddam Southerner! Not to mention a heaping helping of sheer cowardice, and an even greater objection to living so closely with so many men in what seemed to be some kind of weird homo-erotic sado-masochist death dance performed by (ostensible) straights.
    So thank God, the moral and political dimension never entered into it.

    • CigarGod
      March 19, 2012, 9:27 pm

      I have a file just for Mooserisms.
      As soon as I get enough for a book…I’m going to get it registered with the FBI…as a deadly weapon.

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