Each year in Israel, a few dozen of citizen refuse to serve Tsahal, the israeli army. Teenagers facing the mandatory 3-years service, reserve or active soldiers, the Refuzniks stand against the army mostly for ideological purposes and in favor ot the one cause that bring them together : to denounce the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
"I come from a family of entrepreneurs, very well off and Ashkenazi. I grew up in Savyon, where we create what society considers best, socially and economically. To refuse was very difficult. It was a bit like a coming out, especially in the environment I come from. But I am aware that it is a privilege because I received an education and political awareness that allowed me to make that choice. My parents took a long time to understand my decision but ended up supporting me. I do not sit at home refusing, I live it day by day. I decided to engage in a civil service with a NGO "
"June 2007. I was in the Palestinian village of Susya, on the heights of Hebron. received their demolition orders, their houses, illegally built in the eyes of the Israelis, would be razed by bulldozers, I remember a line of Israeli soldiers in front of me, I looked at one of them right in his eyes were only a little older than I. I felt the fear he had in him, and at the same time, a feeling of hatred for this kid stuffed with equipment, armed and helmeted, climbed into me. It was at this moment that I realized that I would not be serving in the army of my country.I saw the violence of the occupation and I reflected.Activism is reserved for two categories of people: the oppressed and the privileged I'm part of the second "
"I work at New Profile, an association who accompanies the Refuzniks. Most people who knock on our door are not great ideologues willing to sacrifice for the cause of the occupation and spend several weeks in prison. These are people who simply do not fit into the mold of the army: some do not support violence, weapons, others are gay or have to work to help financially their family. They just need help to escape the service. " They must then pass tests to be recognized as unfit physically or mentally and finally exempted. The ideological refusals concern only a very well-off part of the population, who can assume the social consequences of their act"
"I remember the long days in solitary confinement, in underpants, without book or daylight, but my conditions of detention are to be put in perspective with what the Palestinians live on a daily basis: MP Dov Khenin (labeled Hadash, mixed Jewish and Arab communist party) has moved several times to get back He came to see me during the first week to explain to me that my story was everywhere in the newspapers, it gave me strength, my education and the environment I came from allowed me to limit impact of my decision on my future life In this sense, I am a privileged one. "
" Refusing to serve is starting in life late, I come from a very Zionist family in which army is an initiatory rite. Several times during my job search, I was sent back to my refusal to serve. I felt isolated and it took time for me to be at peace with my family, my friends. I got out because I had a career because of my political opinions. The Refuzniks send a very important message to the Palestinian and international community, but they are seen as spoiled young people. They denounce the violations committed by the army but they are outside this system and lack the legitimacy to bring these accusations ".
"It took me several months to question what I had done for years and to understand that there was no longer any question of the security of my country. I realized that they were using me, abusing me, my talents to serve a bad cause: the extension of territory in the West Bank and the control of the lives of Palestinians. We do not refuse to serve if Israel's security is at stake, but we want to stop the occupation. Since very young, the storytelling about the victimization of the Jewish people is omnipresent, just like the army, which ends up being part of your personality. The dilemma between my duty as a citizen, a patriot and my moral conscience has been terrible. My refusal cost me 35 days behind bars. "