Pacifist faces court martial

Pacifist faces court martial

By staff writers
12 Mar 2003

Pacifist faces court martial

-12/03/2003

The pacifist nephew of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli finance minister, has appeared before a court martial for refusing to serve in the Israeli army.

Jonathan Ben-Artzi, 20, who is a nephew by marriage of the former prime minister, faces three years in jail.

The physics student has already spent 200 days in military prisons having had a 35-day sentence extended seven times after it was imposed by a senior army officer in August 2001.

Israeli law provides for universal conscription of three years for men and two years for women, with exemptions limited to ultra-Orthodox Jews, Israeli Arabs, and people with medical conditions.

Conscientious objectors like Ben-Artzi are not recognised.

At the hearing at an army base in Jaffa, Ben-Artzi's lawyer argued that the decision to convene a court martial was illegal as it required "special authorisation".

He also challenged the court's jurisdiction as his client was never formally drafted and therefore remained a civilian.

The army prosecutor said that being summoned for military interviews and medical tests automatically placed a person under military law.

The hearing was adjourned after the judge said he would give his decision on jurisdiction at a later date.

The pacifist nephew of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli finance minister, has appeared before a court martial for refusing to serve in the Israeli army.

Jonathan Ben-Artzi, 20, who is a nephew by marriage of the former prime minister, faces three years in jail.

The physics student has already spent 200 days in military prisons having had a 35-day sentence extended seven times after it was imposed by a senior army officer in August 2001.

Israeli law provides for universal conscription of three years for men and two years for women, with exemptions limited to ultra-Orthodox Jews, Israeli Arabs, and people with medical conditions.

Conscientious objectors like Ben-Artzi are not recognised.

At the hearing at an army base in Jaffa, Ben-Artzi's lawyer argued that the decision to convene a court martial was illegal as it required "special authorisation".

He also challenged the court's jurisdiction as his client was never formally drafted and therefore remained a civilian.

The army prosecutor said that being summoned for military interviews and medical tests automatically placed a person under military law.

The hearing was adjourned after the judge said he would give his decision on jurisdiction at a later date.

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