Nitzan. Taking legal action
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Raz: Smear campaign against us
Photo: Shiran Valek

Websites on draft-dodging to be probed

Organizations offering internet advice on how to evade army service to be investigated by attorney general on suspicion of incitement against IDF; group members say they operate legally, merely provide information

"Declaring chronic back or head aches can lower your medical profile, and marking the wrong answers on the psychometric exam certainly decreases the candidate's value for security service, even leading to an automatic discharge from the IDF," a website encouraging draft-dodging informs its readers.


The website is one of many offering tips on how to evade army service, published by organizations that allegedly encourage draft-dodging in Israel. On Monday Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered an investigation be launched against these organizations on suspicion of incitement against the army.


Sites established by organizations such as 'New Profile' and 'Target 21' publish advice like, "Declaring a low degree of motivation to serve at any time decreases the value of the candidate in the army's eyes."


'Target 21', named after an IDF evaluation prohibiting candidates from enlisting due to psychological issues, has even published a 16-page document in which youths receive thorough instructions on how to construct a 'case study' that would lead to exemption from service due to psychological problems.


The site also recommends the invented case study be based on embellished facts rather than fiction, and urges enlistment candidates to pretend to suffer from depression and suicidal tendencies, as this normally leads to exemption from service.


Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan claims that the material published on these websites constitutes incitement against the IDF, as they not only encourage youths to dodge the draft, but also explain in great detail how this can be accomplished.


He added that the phenomenon requires a slight expansion of the limited legal action usually taken against those suspected of incitement, in light of the seriousness of the case.


'IDF won't look reality in face'

'New Profile' was established 10 years ago, and views Israeli society as a militarist civilization in which the army takes center stage in civilian life while continually blurring the boundaries between society and the military.


Upon hearing of the allegations against them, members of the movement accused the government of desperately trying to silence them. "There is an ongoing smear campaign in Israel against people who disagree with the consensus and don't enlist," said Lotan Raz, one of the group's youth supervisors.


"The army has difficulty staring reality in the face, and understanding that society looks different. It's time to recognize these people rather than attack them. The movement functions legally and under the supervision of attorneys. Our actions merely constitute the expression of opinion within the range of democratic pluralism."


Raz added that "New Profile only brings the phenomenon to the surface, it does nothing to create it. We don't tell people to dodge the draft, but rather provide them with information about the discharge procedure made possible by the army, and accompany them throughout its duration."


Raanan Pruschner, a member of the organization, claims, "We help people deal with the military system but we certainly don't incite against enlistment. This is not our concern. We believe in free choice, in contrast to the army. We merely help those who have already decided not to enlist to receive permission from the army to be discharged." 


Roi Mandel contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 09.15.08, 18:48
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