IDF to release conscientious objector after 177 days in prison

Conscientious objector Natan Blanc will be exempted from military service and allowed to volunteer for civil service after more than half a year in prison. Shortly after Blanc’s family and supporters started a campaign for his release, which included several demonstrations and increased media presence, Blanc was summoned earlier this week to the army’s unsuitability committee for the second time.

As opposed to the previous interview, this time the committee decided to exempt Blanc from service, and on Thursday morning he was informed by prison staff that his current, 10th incarceration (breaking the record for number of times a conscientious objector has been sentenced) will be his last. Blanc had repeatedly demanded conscientious objector status, but was repeatedly denied as his refusal to join the army is based on opposition to Israeli occupation policies rather than all use of violence.

The ‘unsuitability’ clause is often used by the army to exempt occupation refusers after several rounds of imprisonment, as in the case of Blanc (and myself). Blanc, however, was the first Israeli to sit in prison 10 times before being released.

You can read Blanc’s statement on his refusal here.

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