The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Israeli Teen Jailed for Refusing Military Service

Jan 1, 2024

On December 26, Israel sentenced 18-year-old Tal Mitnick to 30 days in jail for refusing to enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces, despite that country’s mandatory military service. He said he would not take part in what he called "a revenge campaign ... not only against Hamas, but against all Palestinian people." He can be sentenced to 200 additional days if he continues to refuse military service after his first month in jail.

In an interview last month for TRT World, the Turkish public broadcaster, Mitnick said: "the army that we have in this area is the operational wing of Jewish supremacy in the area and it’s bent on the oppression of the Palestinian people, and I refuse to take part in that oppression and instead fight against it ... I refuse to agree with the idea that killing civilians in Gaza would provide security for anyone ... I believe that the only path to security and peace lies in coexistence."

In addition to jail time, Israelis resisting the ongoing assault on the population of Gaza face enormous pressure in Israeli society. During the interview with TRT World, Mitnick and two other interviewees were physically and verbally assaulted. The attackers shouted that Mitnick and his friends were “terrorists” and “Hamas supporters,” causing the interview to be cut short.

It is important that even a few Israelis stand up to the pressure and say clearly that the war in Gaza is not being fought in their name. Their refusal to participate is a down payment for the future struggles that will have to be carried out against the extreme nationalism of Israeli society, if “coexistence” between Israelis and Palestinians is ever to be possible.