[ View the story "Druze youth jailed for refusal to serve in Israeli army" on Storify] Druze youth jailed for refusal to serve in Israeli army A teen from Israel's Druze minority faces prison for conscientious objection.
The Stream· Thu, Dec 05 2013 12:40:40
This Facebook video from Wednesday
Saad turning himself in.
Before turning himself in, Saad, a violin player, protested his service with members of his community:
The charming violin player Omar Saad refuses to join the Israeli army and protests it through art. #StopPrawerPlan
In the video below,
Israel Social TV
profiles Saad, who identifies as Palestinian, and his reasons for refusing to serve with the Israeli military:
The nation's armysocialtv
Last year, when Saad was seventeen, he was called on by the military to report for physical exams and interviews. He
a letter to the defence minister and prime minister of Israel, explaining his reasons for refusing to serve. Below are excerpts from the letter:
I refuse [the draft] because I am a man of peace who despises violence of all sorts; I think the military is based on both physical and mental violence. Since I got the draft order my life has changed, I became more nervous, my thoughts have become distracted, I remembered thousands of dreadful images, and I couldn’t imagine myself wearing military uniform and participating in the suppression of my Palestinian people or fighting my Arab brothers.972mag.com
Many in our sect obey the law and enlist—but what has that gotten us? Discrimination on all fronts, poverty in our villages, our lands’ confiscation, a lack of industry. Our villages suffer the lowest rates of university and the highest rates of unemployment. The Security Service Act has detached us from our Arab roots…. I will not be fuel to your fire of war and not a soldier in your army.”972mag.com
A few days after his 18th birthday, Saad wrote this on the Facebook page of a
Friends and colleagues, Today and without any notice, and by surprise, the Israeli Army authority has contacted me, to inform me that the due date for me to start serving in the army has been changed from 02/03/2014 to 4/12/2013 means next Wednesday at 8:30 in Tiberias, Nazareth Street next to the National Insurance Building . As I already declared my position to refuse to cooperate with the Israeli Military and to refuse to serve in the Israeli army, once again I insist on my position and I will go on Wednesday 4/12/2013 to the recruitment center to tell them clearly: I refuse the recruitment for all reasons I stated in my letter addressed to the Prime Minister and the Israeli Defense Minister and I am ready to pay the price. I call upon media agencies, correspondent and press and those who supported my case to show their support by accompanying me to the recruiting office on Wednesday to give a voice to all those who reject to serve in the Israeli army.Omar Saad
Online, many supported Saad's refusal to serve:
What a true warrior does when ordered to an unjust war (yes, I've been watching #GOT) >> Druze youth headed to prison
Omar Sa’ad, the next brave Druze youth to refuse #Israel army service. Includes his touching letter to the #IDF.
Druze youth refuse to enlist. Very few Druze refuse to serve in the Israeli army. I hope Omar Sa’ad starts a new wave
Others pointed out that Druze traditionally serve in the Israeli military:
However, as we frequently witness, not everything fits into typical binaries. Many Druze do serve in Israeli institutions such as the IDFGary Spedding
Druze man selling wares at Mount Carmel. There is a Druze village there. Druze are loyal to israel -serve in military.
While the number of Druze serving in Israeli military remains high, there is a small but growing number of Druze who
to serve. Most Arab citizens of Israel are
from compulsory service in the military, but Druze men are required to serve.
What do you think of Saad's refusal to serve in the Israeli military?