IDF dismisses reservist signers of refusal letter

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces has released 43 reservists from further service after they wrote a letter declaring their refusal to participate in activities that harm Palestinians.

The reservists, who served in the elite 8200 intelligence unit, wrote an open letter in September 2014 saying that some of the unit’s activities abuse Palestinian rights.

“The intelligence gathered harms innocents and is used for political persecution and for invading most areas of Palestinians’ lives,” the 43 reservists wrote. “Our conscience no longer permits us to serve this system.”

The IDF condemned the letter at the time, along with Israel’s political leadership.

In a statement Tuesday, the IDF Spokesperson said it is terminating the reservists’ military service because their conduct violated the IDF’s standards. The statement said the IDF “views with great severity any attempt to elude mandatory military service especially when the act is intended to make a political statement,” according to the Times of Israel.