IDF releases teen imprisoned for refusing to enlist

"We have all grown up in a world where we have been taught to fear and to distance ourselves from the other side, but I believe there is another way to face the complex reality in which we live."

By LEON SVERDLOV
August 27, 2019 07:51
2 minute read.
Conscientious objectors Yasmin Ricci-Yahav (Left) and Maya Brand-Feigenbaum (right)

Conscientious objectors Yasmin Ricci-Yahav (Left) and Maya Brand-Feigenbaum (right). (photo credit: MESARVUT)

 After 25 days of imprisonment, the IDF released Maya Brand-Feigenbaum for refusing to enlist while imprisoning another "conscientious objector," Mesarvot reported.

According to Mesarvot, a political refusal network dedicated to the support of conscientious objectors, 18-year-old Maya from Kiryat Tiv'on first declared her refusal to enlist in the IDF on July 14 and was sentenced to two imprisonment terms, serving a sentence of 25 days in total.
After Maya served the terms, the IDF's Service Exemption Committee granted her a release from military service.


"The decision to refuse military service is one I will never regret because I was true to myself, and yet all along I continued to ask myself questions to examine my stand," she said upon leaving prison.


"I experienced moments of great fear because the hatred people spread is poisonous. This is something I was exposed to in prison and which saddened me: hatred toward entire groups and disrespect that is borne out of fear," she explained.


"I faced comments like 'all Arabs should die, and if you are on their side you should die too.' I wish the girls who spoke in this way understood that in fact we are all on the same side."


Before being arrested, Maya published a refusal declaration, in which she said that "decades of dominating another people is compromising the security of the State of Israel. As a woman who loves this country, whose landscape and people are a part of me, I cannot take part in the preservation of this situation."


After Maya's release, 18-year-old Yasmin Ricci-Yahav from Mevasseret Zion was sentenced to ten days of imprisonment after declaring her refusal to enlist.


"I do not question Israel's right to have and use an army in order to defend itself," Yasmin wrote in her refusal declaration.


"I do not wish to detract from the respect and admiration owed to those who came before me and did everything in their power to protect a state that offered a home to millions who needed a safe haven," she said. "The Israeli army nowadays does not function only as a defense force, but as a central tool in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people.


"We all have experienced a childhood marred by war and hatred, and we have all grown up in a world where we have been taught to fear and to distance ourselves from the other side, but I believe there is another way to face the complex reality in which we live," she added.


"This requires a conversation about alternatives, mutual respect and a desire for change," Yasmin said.


"I believe that it is the young generation in Israel that is responsible for advancing change," she concluded. "I hope my refusal will contribute to the struggle and bring not only a more secure future for Israel, but also a future that inspires pride and is characterized by tolerance and compassion."


Related Content

Israeli jet touch down in the UK.
September 20, 2019
Israeli jets return from Cobra Warrior exercise in the UK

By ANNA AHRONHEIM