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    Fighting for Peace, Not Enemies: young Israeli man Choose Jail Over Guns

    Tal Mitnick, an 18-year-old Israeli, has made a bold decision that has drawn attention from both local and international media. He has chosen to spend 30 days in prison rather than enlist in the Israeli army, as required by law for all citizens over the age of 18. Many young Israelis experience inner conflict when faced with military occupation and violence. This conflict is often reflected in their act of refusal, known as conscientious objection.

    Mitnick grew up in a liberal family that supported his initial plan to serve in a non-combat role in the army. He wanted to avoid contributing to the “cycle of violence” that he witnessed between Israelis and Palestinians. His views changed a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    He spent more time on social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter. On these platforms, he saw videos and images of settler violence and human rights violations. The Israeli army committed these violations against Palestinians. He realized he could not be part of an institution he considered oppressive and unjust.

    Mitnick took a stand against the militaristic culture in Israeli society. In Israeli society, army service is seen as a duty and a source of pride. He declared himself a conscientious objector, or a “refusenik,” and refused to enlist in the army. He knew this would entail legal consequences, such as being tried by a military court and sentenced to prison. He is currently awaiting his verdict, which could result in multiple terms of imprisonment.

    Mitnick’s case shows the difficulty of being a conscientious objector in a country where military service is required and widely supported. His story resonates with other young Israelis who have the same moral objections and doubt the legitimacy of the occupation. He also begins discussing the legal and ethical aspects of conscientious objection. The Israeli authorities do not consider it a valid reason for exemption. The term “conscientious objector” becomes more than a label; it becomes a statement of resistance and dissent.

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