Independent Media Center, Israel

Democracy in military matters
author: Henry Lowi, Toronto (

In a country where there is compulsory military service, civil and social equality is served only if such service is universal. Thus, the laws and regulations that exempt the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel from service in the IDF are discriminatory laws. They prevent the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel from enjoying the full rights of citizenship and the social benefits of military service. Thus, there should be universal military training and service for all residents of the country, without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic group, religion, or nationality.

At the same time, it is a fundamental human right to be permitted to refuse military service on grounds of conscience. Those who object to military service on seriously held conscientious grounds should be excused from military service, and permitted an alternative form of community service.

The 2 are 2 different aspects of a democratic society: universal military mobilization and training without discrimination; individual right to object to military service for reasons of conscience.

The State of Israel is unable to guarantee to its citizens either of these 2 aspects of democratic rights.

Henry Lowi


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