IDF to Release Israeli Conscientious Objector Natan Blanc

Since informing the army of his refusal to serve upon conscription in November 2012, 20-year-old Blanc has been arrested 10 times and will have served 177 days in prison.

Dakia Karpel
Dalia Karpel
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Dakia Karpel
Dalia Karpel

The Israel Defense Forces Exemption Committee on Thursday declared Israeli conscientious objector Natan Blanc unfit for duty, six months after he reported to the recruit bureau and announced his refusal to enlist because of his opposition to the occupation.

Since informing the army of his refusal to serve upon conscription in November 2012, 20-year-old Blanc has been arrested 10 times. He will have served 177 days in prison by the time of his expected release next Thursday.

Blanc has openly declared himself to be a conscientious objector, and never tried to take the route of evasion taken by other recruits, such as securing a lower physical or mental profile.

The committee made its recommendation on Thursday following Blanc's second appeal for exemption.

He first appeared before the committee on February 21, and was advised to 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).

Read an in-depth interview with Natan Blanc in the Haaretz Magazine on Friday

Protesters in Tel Aviv call for Natan Blanc's release.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Conscientious objector Natan BlancCredit: Screenshot

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