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tinnypriv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 02:14 PM
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Serving their conscience
Edited on Sun Jul-20-03 02:24 PM by tinnypriv
(thanks to M Ben-Artzi for the email FWD)

Serving their conscience
Ha'aretz Weekend Edition, July 20 2003

Six months ago, a momentous event occurred in the IDF. A civilian was added to the Conscience Committee, which is responsible for exempting inductees and reservists who are conscientious objectors from military service. Sagi, a professor of philosophy and a veteran warhorse, joined four career officers on the panel,

which had been run like a military secret. Now he argues that members of the various conscience committees don't know what they are doing, thus causing damage to those who apply to them.


In 1998, an international advocacy organization for conscientious objectors published a comparative survey that aimed to map the way different countries dealt with the subject. As of that year, only 24 countries had set up panels with the specific task of addressing the issue. Israel did not provide the organization with data. The survey found that Poland had the toughest attitude toward conscientious objectors: Only 60 percent of the applicants were exempted from service. It also turned out that only in Israel and Ecuador was a military body responsible for dealing with pacifists.

There is a fundamental problem in the fact that the power that the legislature vested in the defense minister - a civilian entity from the executive branch - was transferred to the army, says Dr. Dov Hanin, a lawyer who is currently representing five of the signatories of a letter sent by high-school graduates to the defense establishment declaring that they would refuse to serve.

"The army is meant to manage what lies within its boundaries, and not to set those boundaries," he says.


Note: Regarding the refuseniks, Yoni's "trial" resumes next week (July 29), with two generals testifying. That's Ben-Artzi not the Yoni mentioned in the article.
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