Israeli Army to Release Conscientious Objector Tair Kaminer After Five Months in Prison

Panel rules the 19-year-old is unfit for military service; her current jail sentence ends some three weeks from now, but she can appeal for early release.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
Tair Kaminer, who refused to serve in the Israeli army, January 2016.
Tair Kaminer, who refused to serve in the Israeli army, January 2016. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday that 19-year-old conscientious objector Tair Kaminer was not suited for military service and would be discharged from the IDF.

Kaminer is expected to be released on July 29, but she can appeal to be released earlier.

The committee that hears claims by conscientious objectors found that Kaminer was not fit due to “very bad behavior” the panel had already ruled that she rejected army service due to her opposition to government policy, not conscientious objection.

Speaking with her family from prison Kaminer said: "This announcement, which comes after a struggle of over seven months, is exciting personally and may be seen as a small victory reinstating me as a free person. But the larger struggle is not over my incarceration but over the oppression of the Palestinian people so that the two nations living here may live in freedom, equality, security and peace."

A month ago, Kaminer was sentenced to military prison for 45 more days for her refusal to serve. This was her sixth stint in jail; she will have served as many as 170 days in military prison, the highest total for any female conscientious objector.

On Thursday, Kaminer’s family was not informed of her release from military service and heard about it through the media.

Earlier this week, Kaminer spoke to the committee after her latest claim had been turned down on Sunday. Kaminer has said she is willing to do civilian national service.

“I understood that I couldn’t live with myself if I knew that I collaborated in and kept silent about all that is happening in my country,” Kaminer wrote to the committee. “My refusal to serve derives from a desire to contribute to my society, to make it a better place, and is part of an ongoing struggle for peace and equality.”

Last week, dozens of attorneys wrote a letter to the military advocate general, backing Kaminer’s claims.

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