Dozens Demonstrate in Support of Two Jailed IDF Refuseniks

Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad serving seventh jail term; ultra-Orthodox Uriel Ferera behind bars for first time.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
Omar Sa'ad at a recruitment center.
Omar Sa'ad at a recruitment center.Credit: Twitter
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Dozens of people demonstrated outside the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv on Thursday, calling on the IDF to release two conscientious objectors from military prison.

Among the protesters were the parents of Omar Sa’ad and Uriel Ferera, who were jailed for refusing to serve in the army.

Sa’ad, 18, a Druze from the Galilee, has been jailed seven times since December 2013 for refusing to serve in what he terms “the army of occupation and oppression.” The last time, on April 13, he was sentenced to 40 days.

Ferera, 19, an ultra-Orthodox Jew from Be’er Sheva, is serving his first jail term after being sent to prison a month ago for refusing to join the army.

Sa’ad was hospitalized in a life-threatening condition last Friday and his family and lawyer accused the authorities of deliberately ignoring his medical complaints. He has since come out of danger but it’s still not clear if he suffered irreversible damage or when he will be released from hospital.

Sa’ad’s father, Zahar, told Haaretz yesterday that his son refuses to switch his viola for a weapon. He said Sa’ad’s condition was stable and he is expected to complete his prison term today.

“Omar has a Facebook group of 11,000 friends from all over the world, mostly musicians who heard he was a musician as well as a conscientious objector,” he said. “People throughout the world support his battle.”

The demonstrators also called to end the West Bank occupation.

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