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Global support for imprisoned Israeli conscientious objector

Hilel Garmi

Global support for imprisoned Israeli conscientious objector

A 19-year-old Israeli has received support from around the world after being sentenced to imprisonment for the sixth time. 

Hilel Garmi persistently refuses to be part of the Israeli army, despite repeated prison sentences. Each time he has been released, he has again refused to fight and been sent back to prison. 

His sixth sentence, of 20 days in a military prison, began on 11 November - 100 years to the day after the end of World War One. He is one of hundreds of people imprisoned around the world for conscientious objection to military service. 

Hilel's imprisonment comes shortly ahead of Prisoners for Peace Day on 1 December, when people around the globe will express support for everyone imprisoned for refusing to fight, or for taking nonviolent action against war and militarism. 

"I cannot enlist, because from a very young age I was educated to believe that all humans are equal," explained Hilel. "I do not believe in some common denominator which all Jews share and which sets them apart from Arabs.  I do not believe that I should be treated differently from a child born in Gaza or in Jenin, and I do not believe that the sorrows or the happiness of any of us are more important than those of anyone else."

Hilel has the support of a number of peace and human rights organisations in Israel and elsewhere. He is backed by War Resisters' International, a global pacifist network of which the Peace Pledge Union is the British section. 

You are invited to send messages to Garmi via the online form of Mesarvot, a solidarity network for Israeli conscientious objectors. War Resisters' International have also published suggestions for other ways to help

Campaigns against military conscription achieved a significant success earlier this year, when the courts in South Korea uphled the right to conscientious objection for the first time. The Peace Pledge Union supports War Resisters' International in calling for the immediate release of all imprisoned conscientious objectors everywhere.