ISRAEL: COs Sahar Vardi and Raz Bar-David Varon sentenced to 21 days in prison


On 3 November 2008, Israeli women COs Sahar Vardi (ISR14949) and Raz Bar-David Varon (ISR14958) reported to the induction base, and refused to enlist into the Israeli Defence Forces. Both were arrested and sentenced to 21 days in prison.

In a brief statement made on the day of her arrest, Raz Bar-David Varon said:

Raz Bar-David VaronRaz Bar-David Varon"Today I am about to refuse serving in the Israeli army. I have witnessed this army demolishing, shooting and humiliating people whom I did not know, but have learnt to respect for their ability to go on dealing with these horrors on a daily basis. Reality is complex, of course. There's history, politics, politicians, boarders, flags. There's supposed to be a good reason for all of this. This reason is supposed to be my defense. I feel like screaming: 'This does not defend me! It hurts me!' It hurts me when people, Palestinians, are being so brutally assaulted, and it hurts me when
they later turn their hatred towards me because of it. I wasn't born to serve as a soldier who occupies another, and the struggle against the occupation is mine too. It is a struggle for hope, for a reality that sometimes feels so far away. I have a responsibility for this society. My responsibility is to refuse.

The two COs were escorted to the Induction Base some 70 protestors, carrying signs and chanting in support.

Sahar Vardi first went to prison on 25 August 2008 (see co-alert, 26 August 2008), when she was sentenced to 7 days imprisonment for refusing to enlist. On 12 October 2008, she received a second prison
term of 21 days (see co-alert, 14 October 2008).

Raz Bar-David Varon is the fifth woman CO of the signatories of the 2008 high school seniors letter to be imprisoned over the recent three months. Omer Goldman, Tamar Katz and Mia Tamarin have finished their second prison terms and await the army's decision in their case.

Raz Bar-David Varon and Sahar Vardi are due to be released on 21 Nov 2008, but are likely to be imprisoned again soon afterwards.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to all four imprisoned conscientious objectors:

Sahar Vardi

Military ID 6055780

Military Prison No 400

Military Postal Code 02447, IDF


Fax: +972-3-9579389

Raz Bar-David Varon

Military ID 6000383

Military Prison No 400

Military Postal Code 02447, IDF


Fax: +972-3-9579389

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. An email letter can to Israels Minister of Defence Ehud Barak can be sent at

Please send a copy of your letter to the Shministim (High School Seniors), who plan to use them in a demonstration. Please send copies to: Salon Mazal, Salame 50, Tel Aviv, Israel.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objectors Sahar Vardi and Raz Bar-David Varon, and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck

War Resisters' International