Activists from the Mesarvot Refusers Network and Yesh Gvul held a protest vigil last Saturday, October 30, near Military Prison 6 in Atlit, south of Haifa, in solidarity with Hallel Rabin. Rabin, 19, a conscientious objector, was sentenced on October 19, to her third term of imprisonment for her refusal to be conscripted into the Israeli army because of its policies toward the Palestinians. She began serving her current 25-day term behind bars on October 21.
Rabin, from Kibbutz Harduf in the Galilee, was first imprisoned in August after appearing before the military’s conscience objectors’ committee where she appealed for an exemption from military service. Then she was tried and sentenced to 15 days in military prison, including during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year holiday.
In her refusal statement, Rabin said, “I was raised on the values of freedom, compassion and love. Fighting to keep another nation enslaved contradicts these values. For too long, the good people of Israel have agreed to participate in the atrocities committed by the occupation. While I know my refusal is small and personal, I wish to be the change I want to see in the world, and to show that another way is possible.”
According to Yesh Gvul, “The army`s method of dealing with refusers and conscientious objectors (male and female alike) is to cast incremental sentences of a month at a time, After each term the objector is again ordered to be conscripted, refuses again and is sent for another term in prison. Hallel Rabin is now undergoing the third such one-month term, and many more can follow, Using this method enables the army to avoid a court martial which would be held in public and where the defendant can be represented by a lawyer and call witnesses. Instead, the cumulative one-month terms are issued at ‘instant trials’ held in camera at an officer’s bureau and lasting about five minutes.”