Israel Blocks Top Scientist’s Committee Appointment Due to ‘Anti-Occupation Stance’

Israeli scientist Yael Amitai. (Photo: File)

A leading Israeli brain scientist has been blocked from being appointed on a committee by the science and technology minister for signing a petition in support of Israeli youth who had refused to serve their military service in the occupied West Bank.

Professor Yael Amitai was supposed to be appointed to a German-Israeli scientific committee, but Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis blocked her appointment due to her stance against the illegal occupation of the West Bank, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Ohad Yehezkeli, the minister’s media adviser, said

“Akunis had decided not to sign the recommendation to appoint Ms. Amitai as a representative to the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research, not because of her opinions but because in the past she had signed a petition encouraging draft refusal to the Israel Defense Forces”. 

He added:

“The science minister believes it is improper that someone who encourages refusal should represent Israel in international forums.”

Israeli regulations dictate that when citizens reach 18 years of age, men must serve two years and eight months in the army, and women two years.

The issue of conscription has been an ongoing point of contention in Israel. In September, the exemption of the ultra-orthodox from the draft was ruled “discriminatory and unconstitutional” by the Israeli Supreme Court.

However, the current government continues to practice the Tal Law, which stipulates that citizens may postpone their military service if they are studying the Torah full-time, as Netanyahu relies on ultra-orthodox support to sustain his premiership.

Conscientious objectors, however, who refuse to serve on political or ideological grounds, are met with much more resistance from the Israeli authorities.

(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)israel

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