|Conscientious Objectors Tamar Alon & Tamar Ze`evi to Refuse Conscription, |
Expect to be Imprisoned.
Dozens will join them in a support rally as they report to the army’s
The rally will be held tomorrow -
Wednesday, November 16th, 9:00 AM at Tel HaShomer
TEL AVIV, November 15th, 2016 – Conscientious Objectors Tamar Alon & Tamar
Ze`evi will report tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 16th) to the Israeli army’s
induction center and declare their refusal to conscript. Their refusal is
due to their unwillingness to contribute to the oppression of the
Palestinian People. Both Alon and Ze`evi are expected to be imprisoned due
to their refusal. Supporters, friends and family members will accompany them
as they report to the induction center, on a support rally planned to take
place on Wednesday, November 16th at 9:00am across from the recruitment
center in Tel HaShomer. The demonstration will be led by Mesarvot –
Political Refusal Network, who supports and accompanies Alon and Ze`evi in
their refusal to conscript.
Tamar Ze`evi (19, Jerusalem) recently completed a year of service with
Sayarut (Green Horizons), a youth-led organization in which she has
participated since the 6th grade. Ze`evi enjoys traveling throughout Israel
and the world and is interested in sustainability and education. Her
decision to refuse to conscript stems from her deep familiarity with the
complicated political reality of Israel along with her strong sense of
belonging to it. She loves the land of Israel, but is unwilling to tolerate
the wrongdoings of the occupation committed by the State of Israel. In
refusing conscription, Ze`evi has chosen to take responsibility for her
actions, drawing a moral line line by actively resisting a government and a
policy that violates human rights and fueling violent and cruel reality.
In her declaration of refusal, Ze`evi states: `Out of love to the land and
to the people who live on it, I want to believe, and believe that there is a
different way, and change is possible. … We will get out of this cycle of
fear and violence only when we open our hearts and minds, look at what is
happening around us beyond the physical and social barriers, and allow
ourselves to feel the reality and the pain of all the people for whom this
land is home. Once we all agree to understand and accept that this is the
reality, I want to believe that the path of empathy, tolerance and
compromise will be our only choice.
Tamar Alon (18, Tel Aviv) is a graduate of Aleph Public School`s theater
program. Her father, peace activist Chen Alon, refused continuing to serve
as reserves officer during the second Intifada, and served jail time. Tamar
had met Palestinian peace activists in `Combatants for Peace`, the bi-
national peace movement her father Chen Alon was one of the co-founders.
These personal acquaintances exposed Alon to the harsh realities of their
lives from a young age. As she grew up, she realized the implications of the
occupation on the lives of Palestinians, and it was a decisive factor in her
decision to refuse to enlist.
In her declaration of refusal, Alon states: `I believe that the ways of war,
violence and oppression will not allow us to maintain a democratic state and
to be a `Free People in Our land`. I refuse to enlist out of concern and
love for the society to which I belong, and a desire to encourage public
discourse on this society`s character and future.`
Alon & Ze`evi join hundreds of Israeli objectors who have chosen to
discharge from military service - most of them without confronting the
military authorities due to the lack of recognition of the state and the
army in their freedom of conscience. Only a few choose to stick with their
truth and declare the reason they refuse to be drafted, even at the cost of
imprisonment. Objectors who choose to declare their refusal to enlist to the
military are tried in the military court system as if they were soldiers to
repeating incarcerations for their refusal, so the length of imprisonment is
not known and can reach months. Earlier this year, conscientious objector
Tair Kaminer was imprisoned for 166 days in military prison.
`Mesarvot – Political Refusal Network` is a network of conscientious
objectors that connects different initiatives, refusal groups and NGOs for
joint action. The network supports conscious objectors who choose not to
join the army of occupation, and addresses aspects of gender that come with
forced conscription in Israel.
Hila Aloni Ohayon, Mesarvot Spokesperson
Tomorrow, two young women, Tamar Alon, age 18, and Tamar Ze`evi, age 19,
will stand before a military tribunal and refuse to serve in the Israeli
army. Refuser Solidarity Network is proud to support their campaign along
with organizations from around the world. We are happy to send their
declarations as well as a news story (Hebrew only) about them. Alon`s photo
was taken by Maya Rachlin and Ze`evi`s by Yarden Boytner.
If you are in Washington, D.C., please join us at the White House on
Thursday December 1st, at 6:30pm.
My name is Tamar Alon. I am 18 years old. On the 16th of November 2016, I
intend to refuse to enlist in the IDF, and probably will be imprisoned for
my actions. My civil duties I wish to fulfill in the national service.
I met my parents’ Palestinian friends from a young age. I met people who
were supposed to be my enemies, but they smiled at me, played with me, and
talked to me. These early experiences have taught me to look at the daily
reality of the Palestinians and the reality of my own life in a critical
manner. I cannot accept the claim that the oppression of another nation, the
denial of basic human rights, racism and hatred are essential to Israel`s
I do not delude myself that this reality is one-dimensional, or that the
solution is easy and immediate. Though, I do believe that the ways of war,
violence, oppression and domination will not allow us over time to maintain
a democratic country and to be `a free nation in its country`. I refuse to
enlist in the IDF out of concern and love for the society that I belong to,
and I aspire to encourage a public discussion about its image and future.
My decision not to enlist is the result of a long and complex process, but
the defining moment in which I realized that I must refuse to join the
circle of victims here and there, occurred during the last memorial day when
I attended the tenth Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony. The last two
speakers in the ceremony were two bereaved siblings: Yigal Elchanan, who
lost his sister Smadar, 14 years old, in a Jerusalem bombing in 1998; and
Arab Aramin, who lost his sister Abir, 10 years old, who was killed by
gunfire from IDF border troops near her school in Anata in 2007. Both Yigal
and Arab described the killers of their sisters as victims as well. This
opened my eyes to the fact that in the reality of occupation and oppression,
even the ruler and ruled, oppressor and the oppressed, too – everyone is a
product of this method and system which generates and duplicates hatred and
death. The spirit of all is wounded. The grief and pain are the same on both
sides. The two bereaved brothers had reinforced my understanding that there
is a different path, and that it is my responsibility to choose that path. I
consciousnessly choose to refuse, knowing that not every young woman can
choose like me.
I know that in military prison I might meet young women who did not have the
privilege to choose to refuse. I am not blind to the circles of oppression
that exists in the Israeli society against women, Mizrahi Jews, immigrants
and other marginalized populations. I am not blind that these circles of
oppression are reflected - and reinforced – in the army as well. On the
contrary, by refusing to give a hand to the oppressive system, I ask to be
in solidarity with those who are deprived of the freedom to choose.
Hi, my name is Tamar Zeevi. I`m 19 years old and I’m from Jerusalem. I like
traveling in Israel and in the world and I’m interested in sustainability
and education. On November 16th, 2016, my supposed recruitment date, I will
refuse to join the IDF, and will choose to pay the price that the army
demands that I would pay for my conscience. The choice not to enlist means
to take responsibility for my actions and their meaning, and drawing a moral
line that I`m not willing to cross. It means actively resisting a government
and a policy that violates human rights and fueling a violent and cruel
My process of dealing with recruitment to the army began few years back. I
began to explore questions about the meaning of serving in the IDF, the duty
and the responsibility I bear as an Israeli, and misgivings about the IDF’s
policies in the occupied territories and the occupation as a whole. I
thought a lot about the topic, often talked and consulted friends, teachers
and family, and fluctuated a lot between the different arguments, stories
During the last two years of high school I studied abroad in an
international school in India (UWCMC), together with friends from around the
world, and it was a challenging, enriching and amazing experience. There is
no doubt that distance from Israel has played a meaningful role in the
process of questioning the policies in Israel, and mainly taught me that
military enrollment is a choice and not necessarily the obvious route.
People around me demanded me to critically investigate the reality in my
homeland, and in classes I was exposed to texts that planted in me an
understanding of my responsibility for this reality, and my power to change
On one hand, it is my legal and social duty. I was always expected to
perform this role, and told it is my right to take part in securing my home
and the people who are dear to me. But on the other hand, are a childhood
and a life in the shadow of terrorist attacks and wars real security? What
about the safety of people beyond the walls? Am I as a part of the nation
that controls their lives also responsible for their safety? Where is the
line at which one should stop cooperating, and have we already crossed it?
These questions stirred in me in a hard and difficult way. Sometimes I
reacted with defensiveness, and sometimes in a powerless and frustrated way.
All of this was not enough to convince me to deviate from the expected and
the normative route, and the choice to serve in the military was my default.
I returned to Israel and started a service year in Sayarut (Green Horizons),
the youth movement I was a member of since 6th grade. My years in Sayarut,
during which I had explored the landscapes of Israel, tasted its soil and
breathed its views, were those that planted in me the feeling that I am the
daughter of this land, belong to it and love it. Acclimatizing back in
Israel wasn’t easy, and this time, living in this state with more critical
eyes, and both international and local points of view, brought back the
question of enlistment in a more present and real way.
I came to realize that recruitment is my first and real confrontation with
the occupation and the conflic. This is the place and this is the point in
which I choose, Am I willing to take responsibility for the oppression and
discrimination that lives on our land? Am I going to take part in the scary
system that differentiates between humans, prefers some over others, and
feeds the circle of violence, hate and fear? Thus, in one defining moment, I
understood that I won`t. I am not willing to support a situation in which
two nations live in fear of each other, and pay such a heavy price for
decades. Out of love to the land and to the people who live on it, I want to
believe, and do believe that there is a different way, and that change is
Fear is the hardest disease that exists in this country. It is horribly
contagious, passed from generation to generation, and mainly breeds ugly
side effects such as alienation, hatred and violence. Fear’s favorite food
is uncertainty, and in the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, Israel and the IDF make sure that nothing in life is to be taken for
granted. Getting up in the morning with fear and going to with it is not a
way of life that I am ready to take part in conserving, particularly when
the meaning of it is increasing and enlarging the problem itself.
We will get out of the cycle of fear and violence only when we’ll open our
heart and mind, look at what is happening around us, beyond the physical and
social walls and let ourselves feel the reality and pain of all the people
that this country is their home. Once we all will agree to understand and
accept that this is reality, I want to believe that the way of empathy,
tolerance and compromise will be our only choice.
I know it is a complicated matter. Hatred and violence on both sides exist
and are dangerous, and we shouldn`t be naive when examining this reality.
Nevertheless, we must not stop hoping that it could be better here. We must
not accept the acts being done in our name behind the wall of hiding and
separation. And this is my responsibility and yours. There is no one way to
make change, to be honest, there are infinite possibilities, and everyone
will chose what they can do for our world.
The choice to refuse serving in the Israel Defence Forces is one of the
milestones in my path to make life in this homeland life of peace, freedom