Two teenage girls jailed for refusing to join IDF

Conscientious objectors Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze’evi say they won’t ‘contribute to Palestinians’ oppression’

Tamar Alon, left, and Tamar Ze'evi (Hila Aloni Ohayon/Mesarvot/Dor Heimberg)
Tamar Alon, left, and Tamar Ze'evi (Hila Aloni Ohayon/Mesarvot/Dor Heimberg)

Two Israeli women were arrested on Wednesday after they refused to enlist in the Israeli military, citing objections to the IDF’s activities in the West Bank.

Conscientious objectors Tamar Alon, 18, and Tamar Ze’evi, 19, who were both slated to join the IDF, arrived Wednesday afternoon at the recruitment office in Tel Hashomer. There, after declaring their refusal to serve, the two were arrested and imprisoned for two days by army authorities. Israel does not recognize political or conscientious objection as grounds to receive exemption from the mandatory draft.

Alon and Ze’evi refused conscription due to their “unwillingness to contribute to the oppression of the Palestinian People,” according to a statement by Mesarvot — Political Refusal Network, an organization that is aiding the two objectors.

Tamar Alon is a second-generation conscientious objector. Her father Chen Alon famously refused to serve as a reserve officer during the Second Intifada and then founded “Combatants for Peace,” a bi-national peace movement that connects Israeli and Palestinian activists.

It was through that organization that Alon met Palestinians and was exposed to the “harsh realities of their lives from a young age,” she said.

“I believe that the ways of war, violence and oppression will not allow us to maintain a democratic state and be a ‘free people in our land,'” she said, referring to a line in Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem. “I refuse to enlist out of concern and love for my society and out of a desire to encourage public discourse on the character and future of our society.”

Ze’evi echoed Alon’s sentiments, insisting that she was refusing to serve due to her love for the land and its people.

“We will only get out of this cycle of fear and violence when we open our hearts and minds, look at what is happening around us, and allow ourselves to feel the pain suffered by the people who live in this land,” said Ze’evi. “Once we all understand and accept this reality, I want to believe empathy, tolerance and compromise will be our only choice.”

Alon and Ze’evi have received a new enlistment date next week, and are expected to refuse and be tried again. This cycle could ultimately lead to their protracted incarceration in military prison.

Earlier this year, conscientious objector Tair Kaminer spent 166 days in prison before she was eventually released.

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