Two brave Israeli women are coming to speak here in Seattle about their experiences as seruvniks, those who refuse to serve in the IDF. The Shministim movement in Israel pits brave young Israelis against the IDF and government. The Why We Refuse website recounts the experience of the refusers who will be in Seattle next week:
Maya Wind and Netta Mishly both signed the 2008 Shministim Letter: a declaration by Israeli high school students that they would not enlist in the IDF to occupy Palestinian territories and rule over Palestinian life. Since military service is mandatory for Israeli Jews upon completing high school, Maya, Netta, and many of the dozens of teenagers who signed the letter have been sentenced to military prison, sometimes for multiple terms. Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace are excited to be organizing a nationwide tour through the United States this Fall, in which these two women recount why they refused, what they have experienced as a result, and what it all means.
Service in the IDF is not only mandatory in Israel as the above passage notes, but it is an important social bond the cements Israelis to each other and the nation itself. Service, especially in the elite units has been considered a great honor. That is why it is especially difficult for Israeli youth to break out of this mold of obedience and respect for the military culture. It is why these young people deserve our admiration and support.
The event will be on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 7:00pm. It will happen at University Friends Meeting-Worship Room, 4001 9th Ave. NE in Seattle.