April 20: Conscientious objectors

Students for Justice in Palestine to host Refuser Solidarity Network speakers


7:06 a.m., April 14, 2016--Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Delaware will host a speaking tour organized by the American Friends Service Committee in cooperation with the Refuser Solidarity Network, which works within the U.S. to raise support for conscientious objectors in Israel, at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, in 104 Gore Hall.

The tour will feature two speakers who have refused service in the Israeli military, Khaled Farrag and Yasmin Yablonko.

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Farrag is a 34 year-old Palestinian Druze conscientious objector from Rama village in the Upper Galilee. In 1999, after moving to Jerusalem, Farrag refused to serve in the army and was sentenced to two months in military prison.

Farrag was one of the founders of Urfod, a movement that calls for ending compulsory military service imposed on Druze men at the age of 18, and reconnecting Druze with their Palestinian and Arab identity as it was throughout the history. 

He studied law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, established and runs a preparatory school for university admission in East Jerusalem and co-found Grassroots Jerusalem, a Palestinian NGO working on empowering communities in East Jerusalem.

Farrag will talk about the Druze history, and how internal politics in Israel impact his community as well as his reasons for refusing military service.  

Yablonko is a 23-year-old Israeli contentious objector from Jaffa who is active in the Jewish Israeli community. Today she is the coordinator of Mesarvot, a newly established network of Israeli organizations supporting refusal and opposing the occupation. The network helps elevate the voices of young people refusing military service, offering them capacity building, assisting with media work and helping them organize. 

Yablonko currently studies humanities and arts in the Tel Aviv University. She will talk about the refusal movement in Israel both past and present, and about the effects of militarism and mandatory military service on Israeli society. She will also share from her work with Mesarvot, which is supported by both the American Friends Service Committee and the Refuser Solidarity Network.

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