On Tuesday morning, August 31, dozens of activists accompanied two conscientious objectors, Shahar Peretz and Private Eran Aviv, to the Tel Hashomer induction base in central Israel where they both told army officials that they refuse serve in the occupied Palestinian territories. Peretz and Aviv were each sentenced to 10 days behind bars.
Peretz, 18, from the town of Kfar Yona, is one of 120 teenagers who in January 2021 signed the most recent “Shministim Letter,” an initiative by high school seniors in which they declare their refusal to serve in the army to protest its policies of occupation and apartheid. Half a year earlier, in June 2020, Peretz was one of the 400 Israeli teenagers who signed a letter to the Israeli leadership demanding that it halts its imperialist plans to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank as part of the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century.”
The soldier Eran Aviv who, with his refusal on Tuesday of this week, began his fourth stint behind bars, had previously spent a total of 54 days in military prison for refusing to serve in the occupied territories.
After their release towards the end of next week, both Peretz and Aviv will have to return to the induction base and repeat the process until the army decides to respectively exempt Peretz from military service and discharge Aviv from the army, service which is mandatory for most Israelis.
Among the activists accompanying the two objectors on their way to Tuesday’s hearings were Joint List MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List) and members of Israel’s Young Communist League. Shahar’s father, Shlomo Peretz, who himself sat in prison four times for refusing to serve in Lebanon and the occupied territories, was also there to support his daughter.
On Wednesday, September 1, Joint List chair MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) visited Private Eran Aviv in the military prison where he is currently incarcerated.