Conscientious objectors imprisoned in Israel

By agency reporter
August 11, 2018

Conscientious objectors Luhar Altman and Hilel Garmi have been imprisoned for their refusal to serve in the Israeli army. This is Altman's first imprisonment and Garmi's second imprisonment.

On 6 August 2018, Luhar Altman and Hilel Garmi declared their refusal at the military induction centre with the support of Mesarvot (a solidarity network of people refusing to serve in the Israeli military), as well as their friends and family. Following their refusal, both were imprisoned, Altman for 10 days and Garmi for 20 days. 

In his declaration, Garmi says, "I have an older brother and two older sisters who served in the military.  When I was a young child, the army, for me, was not only an inevitable obligation, but also the pinnacle of my aspirations.  I wanted to enlist in the most selective commando unit possible.

"But when I grew older and I came to understand the present reality between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, I realized enlisting would be impossible for me.

"I cannot enlist, because from a very young age I was educated to believe that all humans are equal.  I do not believe in some common denominator which all Jews share and which sets them apart from Arabs.  I do not believe that I should be treated differently from a child born in Gaza or in Jenin, and I do not believe that the sorrows or the happiness of any of us are more important than those of anyone else.  …As a person who was born into the more powerful side of the hierarchy between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, I was given the power as well as the obligation to try to fight that hierarchy."

Hilel Garmi was first imprisoned on 29 July, six days after he failed to report at the induction centre and undergo enlistment. He was arrested by plainclothes soldiers at his home - an exceptional action by the Israeli army which has not been seen in recent years. 

War Resisters International calls for the immediate release of all conscientious objectors, saying that refusing to kill is not a crime.

* Read Hilel Garmi's full declaration of conscience here

* Mesarvot

* War Resisters International


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