Four Teenagers Announce Their Refusal to Enlist in the Occupation Army

Four Israeli teenagers, Shahar Schwartz (18 year old), Einat Gerlitz (19), Evyatar Moshe Rubin (19), and Nave Shabtay Levin (18) arrived last Sunday at the army Recruitment Center at Tel Hashomer in central Israel to announce their refusal to enlist in the army in protest of occupation and apartheid. Several dozen fellow activists, among them Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) followed them right up to the gate, crying out “We will neither kill nor die – in the service of the occupation.”

MK Ofer Cassif with the four teenagers, last Sunday, at the army Recruitment Center in Tel-Hashomer (Photo: Mersavot)

One of the four, Schwartz, has already spent 10 days in military prison, after which he was released – and ordered to show up again which would lead to a second time in prison, followed by a third, fourth and fifth. The four teenagers are being supported by Mesarvot, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the Israeli army in protest of the occupation.

Levin said in an interview to +972 website: “To a certain extent, I grew up in the army. My father was an officer and would take me to the base on weekends. I grew up in this reality. I would hold weapons, look at machine guns, and collect bullet casings. On the other hand, my mother would provide me with the counter-narrative — a more left-wing angle. I grew up in both of these realities until I started researching on my own. I went to demonstrations and saw apartheid in reality, not simply in theory.” “The decision to refuse came from my personal radicalization process, but today I can say that I come to this issue as a communist. I oppose class separation between Jews and Arabs. I see how the powerful and the wealthy profit from war crimes and the suffering and death that both Palestinians and we experience,” added.

The full interview with the young refusers published by +972: