Militarism and racism have reached a fascist level
23 October 2002,  by Haggai Matar (one of the Five Refuseniks currently in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli army)

Today I will be sent to the military prison, as a result of my insistence upon my political views, which prevent me from enlisting in the Israeli Defence Force.

Despite my young age, merely 18, and despite the fact that I do not bear with me memories from Israel's past, I can wholeheartedly declare that Israel has reached an unprecedented moral low.  This extreme deterioration began with 'Barak's' generous offers', which were but another attempt at forcing a unilateral agreement upon the Palestinian people.  Today, militarization and racism among the Jewish population have reached a fascist level. The repression of critical thinking, the total acceptance of the occupation's crimes, the idolization of the army and the gradual acceptance of the principle of 'ethnic cleansing'- all these constitute only part of our society's collapse.  To this list one should add the systematic mistreatment of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the hateful violence addressed at peace demonstrators, and the heartless attitude towards the abnormal and the weak.  With all these, I refuse to cooperate

The voice of conscience and the lessons humanity should have learnt from countless similar situations in the past leave me no choice but to refuse enlistment to the Israeli army - which is falsely, dubbed a 'Defence Force'.  My refusal to enlist is inevitable.  The oppression known by the peoples of this in the age of the Empires, the torment of the slaves and the Indians in North America, the Algerian War of Independence and apartheid in South Africa - all these precedents have made my refusal inevitable. My grandfather's actions in the Second World War, in his fight against Nazi Fascism, and his belief in humanism - these too lead to my refusal.  At home I learnt of oppression and justice.  In the face of such evil as one may find here and now, there is no other way.

On this significant day of my life, accompanied by my supportive family and friends, I wish to acknowledge my companions, the unseen heroes of our struggle: the Palestinian who endures the occupation without turning to violence against the Israeli civilian population, in spite of his lack of hope for a decent life; the Palestinian citizen of Israel, who keeps striving for coexistence despite day-to-to humiliations, the youth who avoids serving the occupation, her upbringing notwithstanding, the European peace activist, who physically defends Palestinians in the Occupied Territories; and my friend, a girl raised in a right-wing family, who fell in love with an Arab and was consequently banished from her home.  While in prison, when forced to friends, whom I cannot equal, because of my identity; all those who sacrifice so much more then I do - for peace, against the occupation.

refusing to kill