A 19-year-old Israeli woman who refused to do compulsory military service as a protest against the occupation of the Palestinian territories has been released from jail – but could return within days.
Tair Kaminer’s case has been the subject of fierce debate in Israel, driving calls for reform to laws punishing conscientious objectors, while seeing her labelled as a “traitor” by others.
Before being sent to prison for 20 days earlier this month, she said her experience volunteering with the Israeli Scouts helping children traumatised by the Israel-Gaza conflict made her unable to accept conscription.
“I saw children (in Sderot) growing up in a warzone,” Ms Kaminer told Israel Social TV.
“I saw the effect on them – the fear and sometimes, the hatred.
Protesters have held regular demonstrations outside her prison and training bases for conscripts, while the Mesarvot campaign group is taking support messages from around the world.
Amnesty International Israel opposed the sentence, which was also raised in the Houses of Parliament, where Caroline Lucas brought an early day motion on 19 January noting MPs’ “concern”.
The Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion wrote: “With tensions high in Israel, this is a particularly difficult time to be a conscientious objector … (we call) on the Government to request the Israeli authorities to accept the conscientious objection of Israeli citizens who do not wish to bear arms against a civilian population under military occupation.”
– Read more: Tair Kaminer: Israeli teenager jailed for refusing to do military service because of Palestinian territories occupation – The Independent, UK