By JPOST.COM STAFF
Givati swearing in ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICEDozens of Israeli teenagers soon to be eligible for conscription into the Israel Defense Forces signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday declaring their intention to refuse military service on the basis of conscientious objection.
"Their refusal is designed to protest the continuing occupation [in Judea and Samaria] and the intrusion of the military into civilian life, something which further entrenches chauvinism, militarism, violence, inequality, and racism," the organizers of the letter said in a press release on Saturday.
"The military's operations move us further away from finding a [diplomatic] solution and reaching peace, justice, and security," said Mandy Kartner, a Tel Aviv native and one of the letter's signatories. "My refusal is a way to express opposition to injustices committed by us and in our name every day."
"The army is an instrument of society's powerful and not of its citizens, who are just tools," said another signatory, Shaked Harari of Bat Yam. "My friends and me refuse to be cannon fodder."
The youths said the letter was written in solidarity with ultra-Orthodox and Arab youngsters who refuse to perform military service "and have no wish to take part in the cycle of killing and violence."
"We call on all Israeli youths to carefully examine the significance of serving in the IDF," the letter read.
Comment: So it begins. Unfortunately Israel cannot afford to have its citizen soldier pool believe that they have no responsibility to serve the country that provides them security, work, social life uncompromised by the stress in the region. I ask only that each young citizen ask him/her self what the real reason is for not serving the country in some capacity. Do you not believe in giving back to an entity that supports the entire you? You can opt to help by serving in hospitals, homes and clinics for those less fortunate as well as for multiple education groups that can use your help. Do these options transcend your concerns about our military? What sense of responsibility, if any, do you have for the stability of our country and what does this look like?