Tamar Alon


My Name is Tamar Alon, I am 18 years old. On the 16th of November 2016, I intend to refuse to enlist in the IDF, and probably will be imprisoned for my actions. My civil duties I wish to fulfill in the national service.

I met my parent's Palestinian friends from a young age. I met people that were supposed to be my enemies, but they smiled at me, played with me and talked to me. These early experiences have taught me to look at the daily reality of the Palestinians and the reality of my own life in a critical manner. I cannot accept the claim that the oppression of another nation, the denial of basic human rights, racism and hatred are essential to Israel's existence.

I do not delude myself that this reality is one-dimensional, or that the solution is easy and immediate. Though, I do believe that the ways of war, violence, oppression and domination will not allow us over time to maintain a democratic country and to be "a free nation in its country". I refuse to enlist in the IDF out of concern and love for the society that I belong in, and in aspiration to encourage a public discourse about its image and future.

My decisions not to enlist is the result of a long and complex process, but the defining moment in which I realized that I must refuse to join the circle of victims here and there, occurred during the last memorial day in which I attended the tenth Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony. The last two speakers in the ceremony were two bereaved siblings: Yigal Elchanan, that lost his sister Smadar that was 14 years old in the Jerusalem bombing in 1998; and Arab Aramin, that lost his sister Abir that was 10 years old from the IDF border troops gun shot near her school in Anata in 2007. Both Yigal and Arab described the killers of their sisters as victims as well. This opened my eyes to the fact that in the reality of occupation and oppression, even the ruler and ruled, oppressor and the oppressed, too – everyone is a product of this method and system which generates and duplicates hatred and death. The spirit of all is wounded. The grief and pain are the same on both sides. The two bereaved brothers had reinforced my understanding that there is a different path, and that it is my responsibility to choose that path. I consciousnessly choose to refuse, knowing that not every young woman can choose like me.

I know that in military prison I might meet young women that did not have the privilege to choose to refuse. I am not blind to the circles of oppression that exists in the Israeli society against women, Mizrahi Jews, immigrants and other marginalized populations. I am not blind that these circles of oppression are reflected - and reinforced – in the army as well. On the contrary, by refusing to give a hand to the oppressive system, I ask to be in solidarity with those whom the freedom to choose was deprived from.