Pressure on Be’er Sheva Municip. to Bar Occupation Refusal Event

Pressure is being exerted on the Beer She’va municipality to prevent the holding of a scheduled event about occupation refusers under the guidance of one of the founders of the “Yesh Gvul” Movement, Dr. Yishai Menuhin. According to Menuhin, “Massive pressure is being put on the Be’er Sheva municipality to prohibit the Forum for Coexistence in the Negev from holding the event. If this pressure succeeds it will mark yet another nail in the coffin of freedom of expression in Israel.”

Uriel Ferrara (first from left) during social protests in the summer of 2011

Uriel Ferrara (first from left) during social protests in the summer of 2011 (Photo: Ruth Ferrara)

The event is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Thursday October 20, at 19:30 at Multaka-Mifgash (7 King Solomon Street, Be’er Sheva), the headquarters of the NGO “Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality” – a public defense shelter to which the Be’er Sheva municipality has granted use by the organization to hold its meetings and events. This Thursday’s event is being organized by “Cinematic Solidarity Activism and Human Rights” and “Yesh Gvul.” During the event the documentary film entitled In Good Conscience by the director Uri Barbash is to be screened.  The film tells the story of young Israeli conscientious objectors and after its presentation there will be a panel discussion with occupation objectors, Uriel Ferrara and Omri Baranes.

Ferrara, a resident of Be’er Sheva and one of the city’s activists during the social protests of the summer of 2011, was exempted from military service in 2014 after having spent a total of 177 days in military prison during ten prison terms for refusing to serve in the Israeli army for reasons of conscience. Last August, Baranes also received exemption form military service, after serving more than 60 days behind bars during three prison terms.

Likud affiliated members of the Be’er Sheva City Council as well as other right-wing activists demanded from the Be’er Sheba municipality reconsider the holding of “an event which encourages the refusal to serve in the military, contrary to the law, in a public defense shelter belonging to the city.”