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Photo: Yuval Chen
Tel HaShomer IDF recruitment base
Photo: Yuval Chen
Teenagers write to PM: We won't join an army that commits war crimes
Dozens of teens sign letter to Netanyahu declaring their intention to refuse to enlist to the IDF for moral reasons.

Dozens of teenagers sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday declaring their intention to refuse to enlist to the IDF for moral reasons.

 

The teenagers said in their letter that they will not join the army in protest of "the ongoing occupation and the army's invasion of civilian life that deepens the notions of chauvinism, militarism, violence, inequality and racism in society."

 

The letter's authors urge Israeli youth nearing the age of 18 to reconsider "the meaning of army service."

 

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"The Palestinians in the occupied territories live under the Israeli government's rule, even though they did not choose this government and they cannot influence its decision-making in any legal way. This situation is unequal and unjust," the letter said.

 

The letter's authors bemoaned the ongoing "human rights violations" and "acts that are considered war crimes according to international law" that happen in the West Bank, such as "executions without trial, settlement construction on occupied territory, administrative arrests, torture, collective punishments and unequal division of resources like water and electricity."

 

According to them, the army service perpetuates the current situation, which is why "following our conscience, we cannot take part in a system that commits the aforementioned acts."

 

The letter's authors noted the problems in the military also seep into civilian life, shaping education, job opportunities, and "lead to racism and violence within society and to discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality and gender."

 

"The army's actions distance us from finding a solution and reaching peace, justice and security," Mandy Kretner from Tel Aviv, one of the letter's authors, said in a press release.

 

"The army serves the powerful people in society and not the citizens, who are only a tool. Me and my friends refuse to be cannon fodder," Shaked Harari from Bat Yam, another signatory, said.

 

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