What Happened to the Young Woman Refused to Serve in the Israeli Army

Atalya Ben-Abba decided to refuse to serve in the Israeli military, due to her opposition to the occupation and Israeli policy. She tells Haaretz why there are more female than male conscientious objectors and the prices she paid for her decision.

23 year old Israeli Atalya Ben-Abba actually dreamed of becoming a combat soldier. When she was little, she loved to watch the TV show “Xena: Warrior Princess,” to see the fearless Amazon fighting the Greek gods and mythological creatures, and to fantasize about how one day, she herself would become a warrior princess: a courageous heroine who would rescue people and fight for justice.

At a certain point, when she got a little older and had to adapt the fantasy to reality, the closest she could get was the idea of being a combat soldier. But as her draft date drew nearer, the dream began to crumble. Ben-Abba realized that as a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, she wouldn’t really fight for justice, but would be required “to help a system that oppresses people, denies their rights and maintains a regime that is racist, discriminatory and belligerent,” she explains. “And if I want to work for justice, apparently [the IDF] isn’t my place.”

Ben-Abba is the protagonist of the documentary “Objector,” which reveals how she arrived at her decision to refuse to serve, as an act of protest against the Israeli occupation

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Nov 29, 2021

Nullius in verba

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