Prisons are filling up with conscientious objectors
by Daniel Dworsky  

The amount of AWOLS (Absent with out leave) and conscientious objectors are unprecedented in our history as a nation. Many of us serve only because of our fear of allowing others to serve in our place who would carry out orders that result in harming civilians.

In a time in Israel when poverty is at its highest level since the 1950s, many career soldiers, among them pilots and intelligence officers have chosen jail and unemployment rather than carrying out orders that they feel are immoral.

I am supposed to report 60 days a year to The Military Justice department. It is my job to hunt down run away soldiers and persuade them to report to duty. I have not reported in for 18 months. Instead, I\'ve been using my talents and credentials to help various internationals to document and interfere with actions (on the part of my own soldiers) that violate the IDF code of ethics. I love my country. I believe that Israel is under the leadership of some very disturbed people right now.  I believe that Settlers and local police are in collusion with each other. They are an embarrassment to 40% of the Israeli public now and they would be an embarrassment to 100% of the population if they believed the news coming out of Palestine.

I have the benefit of experiencing the situation form both sides of the conflict.

There are many soldiers among the ranks of those serving in the occupied territories that are  sickened by what they see. There exists a code of honor in the IDF called TOHAR HANESHEK. (pronounced TOW-har  ha NEH-shek) It is what we shout at a comrade who is about to do something awful like kill an unarmed prisoner or carry out an order that violates decency. It means literally \"The purity of arms\".  Another phrase that speaks to an Israeli soldier literally in his own language is DEGEL SHACHOR (DEH-gel Sha-Hor). It means \"Black flag\". If you say, \"Atah MeTachat Degle Shahor. it means \"You are under a black flag (You are carrying out immoral orders)\". It\'s a big deal and a shock to hear it from the lips of \"silly misguided foreigners\"

At all times possible try to engage the soldiers in conversation. Do not make the mistake of objectifying them as they have objectified you. Respect is catchy. One of the most successful nonviolent activists was Mahatma Ghandi.  I think that he drew much of his power from the good that he found in his enemies.

Please don't give up on us all.

You are doing a good thing. I thank you for it.

Peace,  Danny

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February 21, 2003  

Refusing to kill