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Israel woman who refused to take part in the country’s ‘killing, violence and destruction’ released

November 24, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Hallel Rabin, a 19-year-old Israeli conscientious objector, poses for a picture outside the “number six” military prison near Atlit in northern Israel on November 20, 2020, [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

Nineteen-year-old Israeli woman, Hallel Rabin, who refused to complete her military service in the occupied Palestinian territories rejecting any involvement in what she called “killing, violence and destruction” has been released.

Rabin was kept in detention in a military prison for a total of 56 days for refusing to serve in the Israeli army and was facing a further 80 days in jail. But after four hearings, an army board finally accepted that her pacifism was sincere and not driven by “political considerations”, which would have landed her more prison time.

Initially members of the Israeli army’s “conscience committee” concluded that Rabin “opposes Israeli violence directed at the Palestinians” and this, according to the committee, is not regarded as conscientious objection, but political opposition. As such, the committee decided to imprison her.

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Conscientious objectors in Israel are still limited in number and influence. They are seen as a minor departure from the norm and are considered by most Israelis to be traitors. Societies in the occupation state are still captive to colonial extremism, national and religious racism.

The army plays a central role in Israeli society and can impact a young person’s social status and job prospects. This is one of the ways in which some 20 per cent of the Israeli population that are Palestinians are discriminated against in the country. Job prospects, general access to state services are denied because they do not serve in the army.

Israel’s Ynet news reported Rabin standing at the gate of an army jail saying she was “the happiest person in the world”.

“My lawyer called me this morning and told me, ‘you’re free’,” she said.

Asked about Rabin’s case, the army noted that enlistment is mandatory and those who request “an exemption due to conscience-related reasons” are entitled to a hearing before a relevant committee.

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