Nine young Israelis, who were jailed and later discharged from the IDF after refusing to enlist in the army, plan to donate the salaries they received in the short time they served in uniform towards the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip.
All nine were members of the "Eighth Graders' Letter", signed by high school graduates proclaiming they will not serve in the IDF.
The several thousands shekels will be given to the Doctors without Borders organization, which will use it to purchase medical equipment for Gaza.
Yuval Oron at objectors rally (Photo: Activestills.or)
Maya Tamarin, 19, a Tel Aviv resident, stressed that this was mainly a symbolic gesture. "We don't actually think that this sum could rebuild Gaza," she said. "We simply don't want the army's money.
Instead, we will transfer it to where it should go. Instead of money to destroy, money to rebuild – from the ugliest place to the best place."
Tamarin spent a large part of her three-month army service in military prison, and was eventually discharged on medical grounds. During that time she received a salary from the army.
Even now she and her friends continue to promote refusal among high school students. "The aim is to increase the next generations of objectors, prompt teenagers to think. I personally don't want everybody to refuse to enlist, but that the issue of militarism in Israeli society will be questioned," Tamarin explained.
Sahar Vardi, 18, from Jerusalem spent five months of repeated detentions as a soldier, until she was discharged. "We refused because of what the army is doing in Gaza, so clearly when we get the money we will give it to the people who deserve to get it," she said.
Yuval Oron, 20 from Neve Shalom served 45 days in military prison. "Transferring the money comes from thinking of all the damage and pain caused by the army and specifically during the weeks of massacre of Operation Cast Lead. This is an attempt to show solidarity of young Israeli Jews, and maybe also an attempt to stick it to the IDF," he admitted.