The Stream

What are the costs of refusing to join the Israeli military?

While most Israelis support the war on Gaza, some teenagers refuse military service and risk their freedom to stand up for their beliefs.

In Israel, military service is mandatory for most Jewish Israelis. In a highly militarised society, many consider it a rite of passage and a part of their national identity. But there are some teens who refuse to enlist on moral grounds. The so-called “conscientious objectors” say they do not want to be part of Israel’s war on Gaza or the oppression of Palestinians on occupied land. But the refusal to conscribe comes at a cost – the risk of imprisonment and the condemnation from Israeli society.

Anelise Borges

Tal Mitnick – Human rights activist
Einat Gerlitz – Former conscientious objector
Nave Shabtay Levin – Former conscientious objector