Israeli Conscientious Objector to Refuse IDF Service for 8th Time

Natan Blanc, who has spent over 100 days in military prison, first refused to serve in the IDF in November, due to his opposition to Israeli occupation.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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Amira Hass
Amira Hass

Conscientious objector Natan Blanc will go to the IDF Recruitment Bureau for the eighth time on Tuesday to inform the army his refusal to serve because of his opposition to the occupation. He is expected to be sentenced again for another period in military prison.

Since first declaring his refusal upon being conscripted in November 2012, the military court has sentenced Blanc to seven prison terms . Altogether, he has served 116 days in jail, of which 11 days were taken off for good behavior.

On February 21, Blanc appeared before an IDF "unsuitability committee," which recommended he fulfill his obligation by doing alternative service in a civilian hospital. Blanc happily accepted the decision, since he had already declared his intention to volunteer for national service with Magen David Adom when he first refused.

On February 24, the committee rejected his request to avoid military conscription. The committee is headed by Lt. Col. Yossi Malcha, who also heads the conscription reinforcement in the human resources department. Malcha is also the commander that sentenced Blanc the last three times.

Over the last decade, the IDF largely refrained from repeatedly putting conscientious objectors on trial. Until now the record was nine trials, which took place eight years ago, and the IDF preferred to release them after shorter prison sentences due to their unsuitability (in order to prevent a media frenzy over the trial, as took place six years ago in 2003).

Two months ago, Blanc told Haaretz 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.

Conscientious objector Natan BlancCredit: Screenshot
Military Prison No. 6Credit: Nir Kafri

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