A week ago, on 7 October, 18 year-old Yasmin Ricci-Yahav visited a military induction centre in Israel and declared for the third time her refusal to serve in the Israeli army.
We will let Yasmin speak for herself: “To date I have spent 30 days in military prison, and I expect to be sentenced for a third prison term…
“I continue to refuse to enlist in protest of the IDF’s role in the occupation and with the hope that my choice will contribute to a more open and honest conversation surrounding alternatives regarding Israel’s future”.
Over the decades thousands of Jewish-background Israelis have refused to serve in Israel’s conscript military or carry out its orders in solidarity with the Palestinians. As well as small organised groups of soldiers who have in some way resisted orders or issued statements they will not carry out certain duties, there is a thin but steady stream of young people imprisoned for refusing to enlist when they reach 18.
Workers’ Liberty has organised UK speaker tours with two of these “refusers”, Tamar Katz in 2009 and Noam Gur in 2014.
Yasmin also said:
“The Israeli army nowadays does not function only as a defence force, but as a central tool in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people.
“We all have experienced a childhood marred by war and hatred, and we have all grown up in a world where we have been taught to fear and to distance ourselves from the other side, but I believe there is another way…
“This requires a conversation about alternatives, mutual respect and a desire for change... I believe that it is the young generation in Israel that is responsible for advancing change.”
More than ever, Israel’s internationalists, like the Palestinians, need our support. For more on the Israeli refusers and how to support them, see the Refuser Solidarity Network.