Israel: Druze draft refuser sent to military prison, put in solitary
This article was first published on +972 Magazine on 22 April 2019.
Kamal Zidan, an Arab-Druze citizen of Israel, presented himself at the Israeli army’s Tel HaShomer induction based last Sunday and declared that he refuses to be conscripted into the IDF. Zidan, whose refusal is based on his Palestinian identity, was sentenced on the spot to five days in military prison by an administrative tribunal.
Unlike Muslim and Christian Arab citizens of Israel, Druze men are subject to mandatory military conscription just like Jewish Israelis.
“The chances of getting exempt from service are not high, and he is expected to be jailed again,” said Yaman Zidan, Kamal’s lawyer and father. Other refusers have spent months in prison, sentenced to anywhere from a five to 30 days at a time.
Yaman, who has two brothers that died during their military service, is one of the founders of the Urfod Movement, which advocates for draft refusal among Druze citizens in Israel. Yaman himself refused to serve, and now, his son is following his footsteps.
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