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Israeli teen refuses military service over occupation

Hallel Rabin sentenced to 25 days in prison

Jerusalem24 – Hallel Rabin, a conscientious objector to Israeli military service, began serving a 25-day sentence in military prison on Wednesday. Her refusal to serve in the Israeli army is because of the military’s policies towards the Palestinians.

This is the 19 year-old’s third incarceration as her appeal to the conscientous objectors committee is pending. She was first imprisoned in August as she tried to appeal for an exemption from the draft, and was sentenced to two different terms of imprisonment. Earlier this year, Rabin wrote in her statement of refusal “People in power institute a policy of occupation and oppression of an entire nation, Iwill not take part in a system which is based on inequality and fear. We live in a reality that raises us to be violent, and I refuse to take part in it or keep quiet about it.”

In an interview with +972 Magazine, an Israeli publication, Rabin has described herself, saying that she “Strive(s) to be a pacifist.” and that even if she was living in Switzerland, she would refuse military service. According to her “the essence of an army is fighting, and in Israel, this has a political context.” She also spoke about her meeting with the Israeli military’s “conscientious objectors committee”, that decides whether or not an Israeli citizen facing the draft has what the committee considers legitimate reasons for refusing military service. “It was a very short meeting. No one in the last half year has been exempted for being a pacifist,” she said. The role of the committee is to analyze a recruits perspectives, often asking questions about the recruits background, childhood and enlistment. “At the end of the day, I didn’t pass the committee” she said of the meeting’s result. The meeting with the committee was set for a week and a half before Rabin’s enlistment date. According to her, she received a response a week later, not giving her enough time to appeal the decision.

Youth who do not pass the conscientious objectors committee has a right to hear the committee’s stated reasons for rejecting a request. This is so that the objector is able to appeal the decision within 30 days. Rabin received her rejection, and reasons for it, 45 days later. At that point she had already been jailed twice. Concerning the committee’s reasons for rejecting her request, she said in her interview that “They didn’t give too many details, but in general they claimed that I am a conscientious objector. It bothers me that they didn’t even ask questions to try and better understand this issue.”

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