Israel: High Court refuses to accept Yonathan Ben-Artzi as conscientious objector

After several years of legal batte, the legal case of Israeli conscientious objector finally came to an end today, with the Israeli High Court rejecting Yonathan Ben-Artzi's petition to be recognised as a conscientious objector. After several months in and out of military prison, and a trial that laster for almost one year, Yonathan Ben-Artzi was found guilty of refusing to enlist, but was not sent to prison again so far (see WRI's report "Conscience on Trial", February 2004). However, he has been sentenced to two months imprisonment plus a fine of NIS 2,000. The appeal is still pending. Even after this trial, the Conscience Committee of the Israeli military refused to accept Yonathan Ben-Artzi as a pacifist. However, the IDF finally exempted him as unsuitable for military service. Yonathan Ben-Artzi had petitioned the High Court to get the reason for his exemption changed to conscientious objection.

Although the High Court rejected the petition, it recommended to the IDF to send Ben-Artzi a letter explaining that the fact that the exemption is based on him being unsuitable does not contest the fact that he is a pacifist.

Source: High Court refuses to call IDF refusenik a 'conscientious objector', Haaretz, 1 June 2005