On December 26th, Tal Mitnick, an 18-year-old from Tel Aviv, became the first Israeli conscientious objector imprisoned for their refusal to serve in the army since the start of the war in Gaza. Mitnick declared his conscientious objection at the Tel Hashomer recruitment center and subsequently received a 30-day sentence in military prison.
In an interview with +972 Magazine, Mitnick said
“My refusal is an attempt to influence Israeli society and to avoid taking part in the occupation and the massacre happening in Gaza. I’m trying to say that it’s not in my name. I express solidarity with the innocent in Gaza. I know they want to live; they don’t deserve to be made refugees for the second time in their lives.”
Mesarvot, a political network of conscientious objectors from Israel against the occupation, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that you can send your messages of solidarity to Tal via writing to email@example.com.
Mitnick is part of 230 Israeli high schoolers who, in early September expressed their refusal to comply with draft orders as a form of protest against the attempts by Israel's far-right government to curtail the judiciary's authority.
In early December, Mitnick appeared before the army's Conscience Committee, comprised of military representatives and one academic representative, and sought an exemption from military service. His request was denied. Following his refusal on Tuesday, Mitnick was promptly trasnfered to Neve Tzedek military prison near Netanya to start his sentence. Upon completion, he will be required to report back to the recruitment center again. In recent years, many conscientious objectors in Israel have faced multiple episodes of imprisonment, with some spending more than 100 days behind bars in total.
Read an interview with Tal Mitnick published on +972 Magazine here.
Watch a video interview with Tal Mitnick here.