IDF Jailed Disabled Woman for Two Days, Claiming She Dodged Draft

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Military Police initially declined to take the woman home after she was found to be mentally unfit. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israel Defense Forces arrested a disabled woman last week and imprisoned her in a military lockup for two days, claiming she was a draft dodger.

The woman, who was brought to a military court where she was accused of evading service, was only released after a military defender showed the prosecution a document confirming her disability. The Military Police refused to take the woman home, and due to the late hour they suggested she spend another night in prison and return home by herself the following day.

The woman, whose disability is based on a mental condition, has a high disability ranking and receives a monthly stipend from the National Insurance Institute due to serious functioning disorders.

Despite this, she was arrested by the Military Police and put in jail for two days before being brought before a military court. A military defender who was allocated to her at court realized after talking to her that she couldn’t understand her situation, due to her mental condition.

It transpired then that the NII papers confirming the woman’s condition were with her all the while, but the Military Police did not ask her about her condition or try to find out what it was. After the military defender showed the papers to the prosecution, it was decided to discharge the woman.

After her release on Wednesday night, the Military Police escort unit, which is responsible for bringing prisoners to and from court, refused to take her home and officers suggested she spend another night in prison and go home the following day, not understanding that she was incapable of returning home by herself. Finally two officers volunteered to drive her home.

It is not clear why the IDF authorities were unaware of the woman’s condition, since she had been due to enlist years ago. Even after her arrest, when the Military Police saw her inability to function, they continued treating her like a deserter or draft-dodger and incarcerated her.

Apparently the army doesn’t ask the NII for current reports on youngsters ahead of recruiting them, even if they are classified as disabled and cannot carry out military service. Instead of finding out about the condition of people who cannot serve in the army, the IDF leaves it up to them to ask for an exemption from military service.

If those youngsters are not aware of the military establishment’s demands, or are not under parental supervision for some reason, the IDF treats them as potential recruits like anyone else.

A military source said the woman who was arrested last week “hadn’t cooperated with the recruitment procedures and had been classified as a draft dodger for seven years, since she didn’t report to any of the recruitment stages or to the army on her enlistment date.”

The source said that now the IDF has been made aware of her medical condition, her suitability for military service will be examined.

An IDF spokesman said “the IDF regrets the distress and will investigate the incident to prevent repeating it in the future.”

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