A new collective declaration of refusal by Israeli youths, the 2009-2010 high school seniors letter, went public last week. Yesterday (22 Oct.), two of its signatories, Efi Brenner and Or Ben-David, came to the military induction base in Tel-Hashomer and there refused to enlist. Efi was indeed sent to prison, while Or has not yet been sentenced (she was told that the military prison for women was full), and will have to return to the induction base tomorrow, probably spend the weekend there and be sent to prison on Sunday. We will run a separate update on her case once she is in prison.
Efi Brenner, 18, from Rishon Le Zion (a suburb of Tel-Aviv), is a familiar figure among young anti-Occupation and animal rights activists in Israel. He was sentenced today to his first prison term of ten days (more terms in prison are likely to follow), which he serves in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit. Following the media exposure that the Seniors’ Letter has received after it was made public, Efi was kicked out of home by his father, and spent the last days before imprisonment at a friend’s house. In prison he has already been transferred to the isolation ward for refusing to obey the military dressing code. In addition, the prison authorities decided (against all known regulations) not to allow him to take books with him into prison. Efi has prepared the following statement upon entering prison: I object to oppression, whether it is commited by a hierarchical organisation, such as the military is, or whether it is commited by the human species against animals. The Israeli government and military conduct a policy of occupation and oppression against the Palestinian people since 1948. It began with the expusion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948, which continues to this day, and continued with the imposition of an oppressive military rule on Palestinians, with the restriction of the freedom of movement of all people, with roads for Israelis only, with administrative detentions, house demolitions, land thefts, etc. We must act in peaceful ways and refuse to take part in the crimes commited by the military. That is our true duty. All the things mentioned above stand agaist the basic values of freedom and justice in which I believe and for which I struggle. I therefore refuse to enlist to the Israeli military and indeed to any military force of any kind. Efi Brenner is due to be released from prison on 30 October, but is likely to be imprisoned again soon afterwards.