On 6 April, 2015 in the midst of the Passover holidays, dozens of members of the Israeli refusers movement and their supporters gathered at Tel Hashomer military base, near Tel Aviv. They gathered to escort conscientious objector Edo Ramon as he turned himself in for his refusal to serve in the Israel military. This would be his second sentence for his refusal.
Edo was to join refusers Yehiel Nahmani and Efi Droshner, currently imprisoned for the same reasons.
Yaron Kaplan is a 21 year old Israeli who served in the military for the past two years. Now, he refuses to continue his military service so he was also present at this protest. He is likely to be imprisoned in the coming few weeks. They are ready to pay a personal price for the public good.
In his declaration of refusal, Yaron wrote:
“I believe that in order to break this cycle of violence, we must reach out to the Palestinians, acknowledge their pain, and let them live in freedom and dignity.
I believe that the military control over the Palestinians does not enable true dialogue; it only creates more hatred and suffering, and deepens the circle of pain and grief.
My choice not to continue my military service, is my way to break that vicious cycle, and it is one of multiple actions that I take in order to create peace in people's hearts and minds.
I love my country. This action that I take comes from the purest concern and care for its future. I deeply desire that the Jewish people will be able to live in peace, prosperity and safety, in their homeland.
It is clear to me that in order to accomplish this, I must ensure that the Palestinians, which this is also their homeland, will be able to live in peace, prosperity and safety, as well”.
Through its Israel Program, AFSC tries to create spaces where activists can challenge occupation, oppression, and inequality. These young Israelis become more aware of the effect of militarism on their lives and are ready to challenge it. AFSC’s Israel Program coordinator, Sahar Vardi, took a small footage of this protest.
For more on the Israel Program please contact: Svardi@afsc.org