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New Profile

Group of young people gathered in a circle
Photo: AFSC
Close up of a soldier
Photo: AFSC
Statue of a tank
Photo: AFSC

New Profile is a feminist movement founded in 1998 to counter the militarization of Israeli society. Its name derives from the fact that every high school student in Israel is given a medical profile by the army. This profile serves to determine the placement of each soldier in either a combat or non-combat unit and also identifies those unfit for military service.

Conscription in Israel is only part of the militarization of Israeli society. Militarization is present in the educational system, media, advertisements, street names, political discourse and even social struggles. New Profile seeks to raise public awareness about the intrusion of militarism into so many aspects of life in Israel, to make militarism visible, and to give youth an alternative.

New Profile hosts youth groups in major cities in Israel, giving youth a safe space to make up their own minds about conscription. For the past eight years, New Profile has also organized a week-long summer camp for youth ages 15-20. These camps include workshops on political issues, occupation, joint actions with other activists, tours, gender, and the environment. AFSC helps fund these summer camps as a way to foster and develop ties among those who see occupation and oppression as a main obstacle to lasting peace and justice.

The New Profile consulting network assists people who do not wish to serve in the army. The network offers alternative information not offered by the army. It also supports youth from the moment they make the decision not to serve, through the legal process of acquiring the status of conscientious objector or release on grounds of being mentally unfit, until they are released from the military system. The network works with anyone who wishes to be released from military service: Youth before conscription, soldiers during their service and reserve service soldiers.

New Profile supports conscientious objectors, legally and technically, when they are imprisoned for their refusal to serve in the army. It also provides political support, including liaising with the media and organizing support demonstrations.

New Profile have a portable exhibition that makes visible the symbols of militarism in everyday life. The exhibition has been shown in schools, youth groups, galleries and pre-military academies. At several instances, it was accompanied by workshops given by New Profile activists. The exhibition, originally in Hebrew, has also been translated into English and is now being translated into French as well.

AFSC was itself founded by conscientious objectors during World War I. It has been a supporter of  New Profile since its origins in 1998.

For more information about New Profile please visit their website: http://www.newprofile.org/english/ or contact them directly: info@newprofile.org

 

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