Israeli Army Allows Deserters to Visit During Holidays Without Arrest

In honor of 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel, the military will allow those who have not arranged their status with the army to visit the country

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
Archive: Israeli soldiers cuffed to one another at a military court.
Archive: Israeli soldiers cuffed to one another at a military court.Credit: Tal Cohen
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

The Israel Defense Forces will let Israelis considered deserters or absent without leave – and who live outside the country – visit Israel without being arrested.

The decision is meant to honor the High Holiday season and Israel's 70th birthday earlier this year, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said Sunday. The temporary amnesty period will last from September 9 through October 31.

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During their visits, deserters will be able to coordinate their legal status with the IDF and undergo disciplinary – but not criminal – sanctions. Soldiers in the reserves will be allowed to return for reserve duty after arranging their status.

“A soldier who presents himself at his unit or at a Military Police base from today [September 9] through October 31, 2018, will be disciplined and no criminal action will be taken against him,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. “This arrangement will not apply to deserters from an emergency reserve call-up order.”

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