IDF soldiers participating in the Or HaDagan Northern Command drill, September, 2017..
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Reservists on Duty, a group that opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, has penned a letter to Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer calling on him to investigate sources of US funds being used to support organizations that promote draft evasion in Israel.
The group, which is based in Israel, called for the investigation on Thursday morning, after Yediot Aharonot published a letter
in which 63 youths from around the country openly declared their refusal to enlist in the IDF and encouraged other youths to do the same.
The letter was addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.
Reservists on Duty, in a letter to Dermer obtained by The Jerusalem Post, wrote: “The organization that sponsored and supported the creation and signing of this letter is called ‘Mesarvot,’ roughly translated as ‘dodging.’ Shockingly enough, this organization is financed by an American-based organization called RSN [Refuser Solidarity Network].”
RSN is a Washington-based nonprofit organization that “provides a US base of support for those who refuse service in the Israeli military for reasons of political conscience,” according to the group’s website.
Reservists on Duty wrote in its letter, “They [RSN] actively support the activities of organizations that promote draft-dodging
such as ‘Yesh Gvul’ (There is a line), ‘Profil Hadash’ (A new profile), and of course ‘Mesarvot.’” The letter explained that as a US-based NGO, RSN enjoys a 501(c)3 tax status, and as such, any contributions to it are tax-deductible.
“We believe that it doesn’t seem right for an organization that actively undermines the rule of law in an allied country to be given such a benefit,” the group wrote. “It is our belief that the direct financing of activities that endorse draft-dodging is unacceptable, especially between respectable allies and friends like the United States and Israel.”
Reservists on Duty CEO Amit Deri told the Post: “Refusal [to enlist] in Israel is against the law and such financing encourages an offense that is against Israeli law.”