ISRAEL: Conscientious objector Or Ben-David sentenced to 20 days in prison


Or Ben-David, 19, from Jerusalem, a signatory of the 2009-2010 high school seniors letter of refusal, was sentenced to 20 days in military prison on 29 October. This sentence follows a sentence of seven days of confinement to base given her a week ago (on the evening of 22 October - see co-alert, 23 October 2009). She is now held in the military prison for women in Tzrifin.

Or Ben-David originally requested to appear before the so-called "Conscience Committee" (an internal military committee reviewing requests for exemption from military service on grounds of conscience in Isarel), but was never summoned to appear before it.

In a letter explaining her decision to refuse (the full text of this statement can be read here), Or wrote:

To refuse means to say no! No to the military rule in the West Bank, no to the use of violence as a means of defence, no to patriarchy, no to violence against innocent people, no to abuse against soldiers, no to war and no to a society that claims to be democratic, but forces youths to carry weapons, kill and be killed.
I refuse because I want to make a difference. I want all those Palestinian youths who have lost hope to see that there are Israelis who care and who make a different choice. I want all those of my friends who became soldiers or who are about to become soldiers to see that things don’t have to be the way they are and that doing all those immoral things is not something to be taken for granted, that another way is possible, that you don’t have to suffer inside a military system that oppresses you (most soldiers suffer while they’re in the army). Maybe they too will open their eyes and their minds a bit more to what is going on around them.

Or Ben-David is due to be released from prison on 15 November, but is likely to be imprisoned again soon afterwards.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Or Ben-David:
Or Ben-David
Military ID 6054025
Military Prison No. 400
Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
Fax: +972-3-9579389

Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to, and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.

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

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objector Or Ben-David, and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International