Israeli conscientious objector heads to prison for record ninth time

Israeli conscientious objector Natan Blanc, 19, was sentenced to prison for the ninth time on Thursday, tying the record number of times an Israeli who has refused to serve in the Israel Defense Forces has been put on trial.

According to Amira Hass’ last report on Blanc a few weeks ago in Haaretz:

Over the last decade, the IDF largely refrained from repeatedly putting conscientious objectors on trial. Until now the record was nine trials, which took place eight years ago, and the IDF preferred to release them after shorter prison sentences due to their unsuitability (in order to prevent a media frenzy over the trial, as took place six years ago in 2003).

In 2003, +972’s Haggai Matar was one of the five refuseniks who made headlines for publicly refusing to serve in the IDF. As far as I am aware, Haggai holds the record for the Israeli who spent the most time in jail for conscientious objection: a total of two years (not consecutively, but in and out, like Blanc).

With this ninth sentencing, Blanc has reportedly met the record for having been through the most trials.

Blanc, who first refused to serve in the IDF last November 2012, was sentenced to 20 days in prison this time around, after having just spent 14 days in prison for his last sentencing on April 2. That brings the total number of days he will have spent in jail to 150.

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

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