This Week's Message 

Support conscientious objector Sophia Or, about to be detained

In war there are no winners!

Sophia Or, a conscientious young Israeli burned the draft order she received. She intends to go to the recruitment bureau and inform the officers there that she refuses to join the army and take part in the machine of war and apartheid. A long period of incarceration in the military prison awaits her, as it was for previous young men and women who obeyed the dictates of their conscience. We will come there together with her. You are invited to join:

Tomorrow, Sunday Feb. 25 at 11:00 an in front of the recruitment bureau of Tel Hashomer

A few days ago Sofia Or participated in a demonstration against the occupation and against the war in Gaza, held on Tel Aviv's on Tel Aviv's Kaplan Street, where she said the following words, and at the end of her speech she publicly burned the draft order she had gotten - - in protest of apartheid, of the occupation and of the murderous war.

I look around me now, at the demonstrators, marchers and protesters, and I see people who are starting to wake up. To open their eyes to the rising of Fascism, to their endangered rights.

It's time to completely open your eyes, and realize that democracy here has always been for Jews only. The time has come to stop turning a blind eye to the repression in the Territories, the "policing" which is ostensibly for our security but in fact harms it. We must look squarely at the Apartheid policy implemented by the State of Israel, at the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were forcibly displaced from their homes, and who now see no solution and no way out.

The instrument through which Israel implements the policy of expropriation and oppression in the Territories is the army - so I will not enlist in that army. But it's important to me not only to avoid enlisting - but to make an explicit, public act of refusal. Not to close my eyes to the tragedy that is happening in this country, and to do everything I can to raise awareness of it.

There is no "us and them" here, there is no zero sum game according to which any harm to the Palestinians is an achievement for Israel, and vice versa. The thought that the conflict can be resolved by force, force and even more force, is a fantasy that only leads to a cycle of bloodshed where everybody loses. The only real "us and them" is the division between the people who understand that what's good for one is good for the other, as opposed to the people who don't grasp this. The division between people - Jews and Palestinians - who understand that violence only leads to more violence. As opposed to people - Palestinians and Jews- who think only in terms of brute force.

Those who currently hold power in Israel are of the second kind. They believe in winning, and in crushing. They believe that if they just use more force, things will work out.

Israel is the strongest element of the equation, therefore it has the power and responsibility to promote a better future for both nations. Instead, the government promotes Jewish supremacy, shamelessly seeking an annexation which would leave millions of Palestinians without basic civil rights. That is why now, more than ever, it is important to struggle for democracy for all, and not stop at the Green Line.

The bluntness of the current government helps open people's eyes to the price we will all pay if we continue on the path of occupation and settlement construction, the path Israel has been walking for generations.

I refuse to enlist in the IDF and help Israel implement this policy, and I refuse to do it quietly.

I choose caring and solidarity that is not limited by nationality, for promoting a change that will protect everyone.

Me and my fellow activists of the Refusers Network will not take part in this repression, and we are burning our draft orders.

Back home on the Gaza Border - and the terrible war still goes on

A resident of a kibbutz on the Gaza border, who chose to remain anonymous, writes:

More than a hundred days of war, and I’m at the kibbutz again.

I haven’t slept here since October 7th. When I left it was still warm outside. Now, I’m wearing a sweater and still shivering. The Kibbutz is rather empty, but not quiet. There’re sounds of work, army vehicles, and especially loud cannons.

Even us kibbutz residents, who’re used to boom sounds, jump from them occasionally. There's a new scent in the air. Smoke, gunpowder and something else I can’t identify. It’s bad, the kind of smell animals avoid.

I think that with all the news, the television, the tiktoks and tweets, we sometimes forget about simple things, like the human body. How it shivers when it’s cold, gets hungry when it’s lacking food. Tenses up when a bomb falls. It’s always fighting to hold on, eventually breaking down. For the body it’s only a matter of time.

Not far from me there are people who for 100 days have been feeling hell itself on their bodies. Gazan children who face the cold in sandals and short sleeve shirts. 136 hostages who slowly starve. The cannon that made my home shake sent a bomb that will tear down another. I think about that with every cannon I hear, and that sound is deafening. At least it silences those who say “we have no choice”, who say “victory”, who say “revenge”. In that silence only numbers are left. 100 days. Tomorrow 101. And every day another body loses the fight, and stops holding on.

My October 7th is over. For 15 hours my body was everything I had. My heartbeats. My ears, that heard shooting outside. My mouth, dry from thirst. But for me those 15 hours had an end. Since then more than a hundred days have passed, during which over 27,000 Gazans were massacred, including over 10,000 children. During which about 2 million people lost their homes, and entire neighborhoods were destroyed.

100 days. 101. 102. Already 127 days, and it is not yet over

For me, these numbers aren’t an invitation to mourn the dead. They don’t even make me think of the fact that after 100 days of war, no security or peace were achieved, only destruction. No, for me they are a reminder that so many more lives can be lost. So today don’t mourn in silence, but shout, for life, for the chance to save lives and the for future they deserve. Shout tomorrow too, and the day after that. This has to stop.