The Israeli army sentenced conscientious objector Noa Gur-Golan to five days in military prison on Wednesday, July 12, after she announced her refusal to be conscripted due to the army’s violence. Gur-Golan arrived at the military induction center at Tel Hashomer on Wednesday morning accompanied by family members and activists from Mesarvot — Refusing to Serve the Occupation, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to serve in the Israeli army to protest the occupation.
After completing her sentence, Gur-Golan will once again have to report to the induction center, where it is expected that she will continue to refuse to be conscripted, and will likely be sentenced to another stint in prison.
Gur-Golan, 19, from Netanya, refuses to serve in the military due to her belief in nonviolence, and because she believes that she must actively work to reduce violence and bring about peace. She has previously stood before a committee that examines conscientious objectors but her request for exemption was rejected. Gur-Golan demands to be recognized as a conscientious objector, rather than a pacifist (who are more easily granted exemption by the committee), and is willing to pay the price of incarceration.
In her declaration of refusal to be conscripted, she wrote: “When I was young, I always dreamed of being a pilot in the military. Today I am 19, and I am pained by the thought of taking part in a belligerent organization. The values upon which I was raised — obeying the law and giving back to society — must exist alongside other values, in which I believe with my entire heart: the sanctity of every life and opposition to violence. I view my refusal as an active step, an alternative to the violent reality we have gotten used to living in. For the sake of real security, I believe there must be another way.”
Last month, the army released occupation objector Atalya Ben-Abba from military service after spending a total of 110 days in military prison for refusing to be drafted. Ben-Abba was released on grounds of unsuitability, after her request to be recognized as a conscientious objector was rejected a day earlier.