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IDF conscientious objector says he won't give in to pressure
Natan Blank told Haaretz by phone from Military Prison No. 6 that he assumes the army is trying to wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists, but he does not intend to do so.
Natan Blank, 19, has been in prison for nearly two months for refusing to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces because he opposes the occupation. On November 19 he arrived at the induction center and declared his refusal to serve. He was immediately jailed for 10 days by an IDF disciplinary court, and since then has repeatedly refused to be inducted and has had his imprisonment extended three times.
On Wednesday, Blank told Haaretz by phone from Military Prison No. 6 that he assumes the army is trying to wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists, but he does not intend to do so.
"I don't want to go to the mental health officer, as others have done [to get an exemption]," he said. "I'm not going to put on an act."
Blank said he began thinking about refusing to serve during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. He has told IDF officers and the judges that when he is released from the army (and from prison ) he plans to do civilian service with Magen David Adom.
Blank said that he and his fellow prisoners wear U.S. Army uniforms, since apparently the IDF chose to buy U.S. surplus. At present he is the only draft refuser in the prison, although when he was first jailed, during Operation Pillar of Defense, there were several men there who had refused to do reserve duty.
Most of the 400 prisoners in Prison No. 6 are soldiers who went AWOL or are non-ideological refusers who had wanted a different assignment, or who simply "have no strength for the army." A few are being held for drug violations or violent behavior.
"Lots of people are interested [in why he refused to serve] and ask me questions," Blank said. "Many have told me it's the first time they've ever met a leftist."