Tamar Katz held in solitary confinement under harsh conditions

December 12th, 2008 — 11:37am

New Profile reports:

As we reported in an earlier update, CO Tamar Katz refused to wear a military uniform when she returned to Military Prison no. 400 for the third time on 1 Dec., and was therefore placed in the Isolation Ward of the prison.     

We now received information that the prison authorities are mistreating Tamar, probably in an attempt to pressure her to wear a uniform against her decision. More specifically, Tamar is not allowed to make phone calls to her family, not allowed to change clothes, and has even been denied the opportunity to brush her teeth.

This calls for some special action to be taken. First and foremost, Tamar herself needs moral support. You can write her messages of encouragement to her prison address:
         Tamar Katz  
         Military ID 5396326
         Military Prison No. 400
         Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
         Fax: ++972-3-9579389

But please be sure to back them up with messages sent by e-mail to shministim@gmail.com, as other messages will take much longer to arrive and might well be blocked.

Letters of protest (faxes are much better than other routes of delivery) would be most effective when sent to the following officials:




    Commander of Military Prison No. 400,
    Military Prison No. 400,
    Military postal number 02447, IDF
    Fax: ++972-3-9579389
    Mr. Ehud Barak,
    Minister of Defence,
    Ministry of Defence,
    Tel-Aviv 64743,
    E-mail: sar@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov.il
    Tel.: ++972-3-6975540 or ++972-3-6975423
    Fax: ++972-3-6976711
    Avichai Mandelblit,
    Chief Military Attorney
    Military postal code 9605, IDF
    Fax: ++972-3-569-43-70

For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Also, please send us copies of your letters of protest to support.refusers.israel@gmail.com.We are including a sample letter, which you can use or adapt, in sending appeals to authorities on Tamar’s behalf, but feel free to be creative in formulating your messages:

    Dear Sir/Madam,     

    It has come to my attention that Tamar Katz (Military ID number 5396326), a conscientious objector to military service, is being held and mistreated in the Isolation Ward Military Prison No. 400.

    The prison authorities deny Tamar Katz basic liberties and conditions, such as the ability to call her family, to change clothes, even to brush her teeth – all because she refuses to wear a military uniform.

    I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release of Tamar Katz from prison, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, but pending that, I urge you to make sure the humiliating treatment of Tamar Katz is stopped right away. Imprisoning people for their beliefs is unacceptable; singling them out among prisoners for harsher treatment is unthinkable.


    As usual, we will continue updating on further developments.

Thank you for your attention and action,

    Sergeiy Sandler – New Profile.

1 comment » | Announcements

Yuval Ophir-Auron Sentenced Again

December 8th, 2008 — 6:37pm

Conscientious objector Yuval Oron-Ofir was sentenced for the second time yesterday (7 Dec.) to 7 days in military prison for his refusal to serve in the Israeli military. Continue reading »

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Message From Omer Goldman: Believe In The Shministim.

December 8th, 2008 — 6:17pm

The last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad.

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Yuval’s Mother Speaks

December 3rd, 2008 — 12:38pm

A note from Ayelet Ophir-Auron, mother of jailed Shminist Yuval Ophir-Auron. Continue reading »

1 comment » | Announcements

Tamar Katz Receives Third Sentence

December 1st, 2008 — 6:16pm

Conscientious objector, Tamar Katz, a signatory of the 2008 high school seniors refusal letter, was sentenced today, 1 Dec, to 21 days in military prison in solitary confinement.

Continue reading »

1 comment » | Announcements

Tamar Katz – 2009

December 1st, 2008 — 12:30pm

Name: Tamar Katz
Age: 19
Location: Tel-Aviv
Why I am one of the Shministim:

“I refuse to enlist in the Israeli military on conscientious grounds. I am not willing to become part of an occupying army, that has been an invader of foreign lands for decades, which perpetuates a racist regime of robbery in these lands, tyrannizes civilians and makes life difficult for millions under a false pretext of security.”
First Sentence: 28th Sept. – 10th Oct. 2008 (12 days)
Second Sentence:
12th – 30th Oct. 2008 (18 days)
Third Sentence: 1st – 22nd Dec. 2008 (21 days)

Continue reading »

2 comments » | Testimonials, Uncategorized

Howard Zinn: The Least I Can Do

November 26th, 2008 — 12:52pm

On November 26, 2008 Howard Zinn sent his letter of protest to the Ministry of Defense in Israel, supporting the Shministim and their right to peacefully object military service. Read a copy of Howard Zinn’s letter below that asks people to join him and sign a letter of support for the Shministim.

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Shministim History

November 25th, 2008 — 11:12am

In the early 1970’s, a small group of high school students wrote a letter to then Prime Minister Golda Meir. It was only several years after the Six Day War of 1967, and a sense of euphoria was felt throughout Israel. The popular belief was that now, after tripling its size, Israel had proved to the world that it was undefeatable, and that no one would ever dare to wage war against it again.

Yet the young people who wrote the letter to the Prime Minister felt differently. For them it was obvious that the latest acts of occupation would necessarily lead to new wars and bloodshed– unless peace initiatives were to take the place of blunt militarism. They told this to Meir, warning her that if she chose to ignore Egypt’s calls for peace in exchange for the occupied lands – their own blood, as soldiers-to-be, would be on her hands. Meir ignored the letter, and the 1973 Yom Kippur war came to prove the young prophets right.

This letter became the first in a long tradition of similar letters, all taking the name of “Shministim” – which is the Hebrew for “High School Seniors”. The potency of these letters, in which young people articulated what others have thought, was the use they made of the threat of refusal. In a country where the army and mandatory conscription are held as sacred, the voice of young people who state they will refuse to join the army, or in any other way serve the occupation, was and still is a voice that gets a lot of attention.

And so the letters followed each other. The well known ones came out in 1982 – in response to the (first) Lebanon War; 1991 – in response to the (first) Intifada; and in 2001, 2002 and 2005 – in response to the second Intifada. Hundreds of high school students signed these letters each round, declaring that they would refuse to serve the occupation in any way they saw fit, each time getting a unique platform to voice a radical message, bringing attention to the human rights violations Israel commits against the Palestinians in its citizens’ names.

In 2002 the movement grew so strong that the army felt that extra measures need to be taken. While all refusers spent varying periods of time in jail (usually two to three months), this time it was different. Five of the signatories of the letter were singled out and court-marshaled, resulting in a sentence of two years in prison. However, while the army tried to make a showcase out of the five and use the political trial for its own good, the effect was very much the contrary, as the five refusers were given an even greater platform to give testament to the reality in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

And now, 2008, a new group emerges. Unlike the majority of Shministim letters, this one returns to the origins of the movement, and like the 1970’s letter, serves as a warning to a society which believes it is working towards peace, while its government and army proceed with a violent occupation. While Israelis forget about the occupation because of the relative lack of visible violence, the new Shministim are activists who go to the West Bank, see the building of the Separation Wall, which many Israelis and Palestinians call an Apartheid Wall, and learn from their Palestinian partners the true meaning of day-to-day life under the military regime of Israel. This is why they too choose to speak out, refuse, and offer an alternative to cooperating with an enabling the Occupation.

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Yuval Ophir-Auron – 2009

November 25th, 2008 — 2:52am

Name: Yuval Ophir-Auron
Age: 19
Why I am one of the Shministim:
“I am convinced that it is no one but ourselves who determines that it is our fate to live by the sword. There is another way, which is not the way of war. This is the path of dialogue, of understanding, of concession, forgiveness, of peace.
I believe that a person should take responsibility and feel reconciled to the way he chooses. This is why I shall not join an army behind whose actions I cannot stand and whose behavior I cannot justify.”
First Sentence: 24th Nov. – 5th Dec. 2008
Second Sentence: 7th – 14th December 2008

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5 comments » | Testimonials

Raz Bar-David Varon – 2009

November 24th, 2008 — 1:45pm

Name: Raz Bar-David Varon
Age: 18
Why I am one of the Shministim:
“I wasn’t born to serve as a soldier who occupies another, and the struggle against the occupation is mine too. It is a struggle for hope, for a reality that sometimes feels so far away. I have a responsibility for this society. My responsibility is to refuse.”
First Sentence: 3rd – 21st Nov. 2008 (18 days)
Second Sentence:
24th Nov. – 30th Nov. 2008
(6 days)
Third Sentence: 21st Dec. – 9th Jan (currently in prison)

Continue reading »

3 comments » | Testimonials

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