Reuven Agassi
Reuven Agassi Photo by Moti Milrod
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A key bankroller of the protest against draft evasion is reducing his funding because he says the protesters are being too conciliatory.

"I withdrew my support after a protest in Jerusalem. We can't remember all the protests. I want to give back my officer's commission but I don't want to do it alone," the funder, businessman Reuven Agassi, told Haaretz.

"I want to enlist the university heads who fought against Ariel but say nothing when it comes to the draft," Agassi added, referring to the protest against making the Ariel University Center a full-fledged university.

Agassi, a 72-year-old former air force colonel, founded the company Quicksoft after working for Tadiran and Elbit. His son Shai is the founder of the Better Place electric car infrastructure company.

Reuven Agassi has long been known for his firm opinions about the importance of serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

Agassi supports what he calls "irrational steps" such as calling on people not to enter the army and giving back officers' commissions to the IDF.

The groups protesting draft evasion include Hamahaneh Hameshutaf, founded this year by Boaz Nul and Edan Miller; the Israel Forum for Equal Service, headed by Miri Baron; Hiddush - Freedom of Religion for Israel, headed by Rabbi Uri Regev; and Be Free Israel, funded by the New Israel Fund.

In a 2007 article, Agassi wrote that he and Quicksoft "attribute great importance to the public protest that began due to the phenomenon of evading military or civilian service.

"We recommend not employing those who have not fulfilled their duty to the state and have not served in the army or completed national civilian service. Quicksoft is joining the struggle and recruiting many of its clients to take part in ensuring a proper, ethical and egalitarian society."