Israeli soldier sentenced for refusing to fight against Hamas

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18-year-old Israeli citizen Tal Mitnick has been handed a 30-day sentence in a military prison for his refusal to enlist in the Israeli army, amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Times of Israel reported that Mitnick, who cites political grounds for his refusal, is the first person to face arrest for such reasons since October 7.

Expressing his stance in a video shared on Mesarvot’s X account, an organisation advocating against military service, Mitnick stated: “I believe that slaughter cannot solve slaughter. The criminal attack on Gaza won’t solve the atrocious slaughter that Hamas executed. Violence won’t solve violence. And that is why I refuse.”

This led to his sentencing on Tuesday.

Mitnick commenced his prison term at the Tel Hashomer IDF base in central Israel, accompanied by a small group of supporters who cheered him on.

The Times of Israel notes that draft refusal is subject to imprisonment in Israel, though some individuals seeking to avoid service do so by presenting evidence of medical or mental issues.

In his statement, Mitnick highlighted the trauma caused by the Hamas attack on October 7, labelling it unprecedented.

However, he criticised the Israeli response as a “revenge campaign” against not only Hamas but all Palestinians, citing indiscriminate bombings and political persecution.

Mitnick firmly asserted his refusal to believe that more violence would bring security, advocating for diplomacy, political efforts, and policy changes to prevent further destruction and loss of life on both sides.

He emphasised his love for the country and its people, aspiring for a homeland that respects others and upholds dignity.