Israeli army jails two conscientious objectors for fourth time

By the time their latest sentence comes to an end, Tamar Ze’evi, 19, and Tamar Alon, 18, will have spent a total of 74 days in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli army.

By Yael Marom

Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze’evi stand outside the IDF’s Tel Hashomer induction base where they declared their refusal to serve in the army, and be sentenced to prison, Tel Aviv, November 16, 2016. (Haggai Matar)
Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze’evi stand outside the IDF’s Tel Hashomer induction base where they declared their refusal to serve in the army, and be sentenced to prison, Tel Aviv, November 16, 2016. (Haggai Matar)

The Israeli army on Monday sent two conscientious objectors to jail for the fourth time, just five days after they had finished serving their third stint in prison. Presenting themselves at the Tel Hashomer military induction base, Tamar Ze’evi, 19, and Tamar Alon, 18, declared their refusal to join the army and take part in the occupation, for which they were sentenced to 30 days’ detention. The army also decided to separate the two women, sending them to different prisons. By the end of this latest period in jail, they will have spent a total of 74 days behind bars for refusing to serve in the army.

Standing at the entrance to the induction center, the women said: “The choice to refuse army service is one of the stepping stones to turning life in this homeland into one of peace, freedom and fellowship. In our refusal to take part in a system of oppression, we are in solidarity with everyone who is being denied the freedom of choice.”

Alon’s mother, Moria Shlomot, on Tuesday posted to Facebook: “Scared of an alliance of two brave women? Yesterday evening the two Tamars were again sentenced, receiving a 30-day jail term for their refusal to take part in the occupation.

“When they arrived at Prison Six they were told that this time round they were being separated, and that Tamar Alon, my beloved daughter, was being sent back to be arrested at the induction base before being transferred to Prison Four,” the post continued.

“At night, during the telephone conversations they were allowed to make to their parents, the two said that despite the difficulties their spirits were holding strong!”

Corinne Ze’evi, Tamar Ze’evi’s mother, said on Tuesday that “Tamar’s actions again give me the hope and desire to act, before despair.”      

Alon and Ze’evi both requested that they perform civilian national service instead of military service. In her original declaration of her refusal to serve, Ze’evi, a resident of Jerusalem, wrote: “Out of love for this land and the human beings who live in it, I want to believe, and I do believe that there is a different path and that we can effect change.”

Alon, who lives in Tel Aviv, wrote in her declaration: “I can’t accept the claim that the oppression of another people, the denial of basic human rights, and racism and hatred are necessary for the existence of State of Israel.”

On the day she was released from her third stint in jail, Alon took to Facebook to talk about her friendship with Ze’evi, to whom she was introduced by fellow refuser Tair Kaminer (who last year spent five months in military prison, the longest such period for a female conscientious objector in Israel).

“Although the real partnership only began 44 days ago (depending on who’s counting), it has been through so much, and today is in the best place it can be. I am proud to say that Tamar is above all a friend, and after that an ally.

“Our fight is not an easy one, together and individually we encounter people who are unappreciative, who curse us and hate us personally, but this togetherness we have created always makes me feel that despite the difficulties, there is someone with me.” 

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew. Translated by Natasha Roth. 

Newsletter banner