Young objector challenges Israeli army
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military has jailed a young man for six months for refusing to serve because of his opposition to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, focusing attention on the longstanding conflict between the country’s universal military service and divided political beliefs.
The refusal by 20-year-old Natan Blanc to serve has put the military in a delicate position as it tries to resolve the case. Releasing him could set an unwanted precedent, but keeping him jailed could turn into a public relations debacle.
Last week more than 30 Israeli legal experts, including the dean of Hebrew University’s law school, signed an open letter urging the army to release Blanc and saying the detention violated his freedom of conscience. On Tuesday, several dozen of his supporters demonstrated outside Israel’s military headquarters.
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