Rothman with friends and family before going into the army draft location
Update 11/08/2012: Mori Rothman is back in Israeli prison after refusing to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces for a second time. He was sentenced on November 4, 2012 and his jail time, like before, is 10 days.
Rothman’s actions, and the publicity of his refusal, have prompted an intense online discussion in both the Israeli press and on US news sites. Most notably, read this open letter to Rothman from Yoav Schaefer, a former IDF soldier. A response on the Daily Beast written by Jesse Rothman, Mori Rothman’s brother, is also worth checking out.
Original Post 11/03/12: Yesterday, Moriel Rothman ’11 was temporarily released from Israeli jail after serving 10 days for declining to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He was arrested on October 24, when he reported to the draft headquarters near Tel Aviv and informed them of his intent to refuse. He is to report back to the draft center tomorrow morning for a decision regarding the rest of his military service. According to his brother, his two days at home are to allow Rothman the chance to change his mind about his decision.
Why refusing is jail-worthy
Rothman is an Israeli citizen. Although Rothman has spent much of his life in Yellow Springs, Ohio, he was born in Jerusalem and recently returned to living in Israel. Military service in Israel is mandatory for all citizens over the age of 18 and to refuse, as Rothman did on October 24, is against the law.
Why he won’t serve
Rothman is refusing his compulsory service in the Israeli Defense Forces as a “conscientious objector.” In a blogpost on The Daily Beast, Rothman stated that his refusal to serve comes from “values of nonviolence, anti-racism and disobeying unjust laws.” He believes very strongly in nonviolence—a concept he sees as directly in contrast to military service, however “defensive” it claims to be. Moreover, he has long been interested with trying to find peaceful resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (check out his “How did you get here?” video). He sees Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories as unethical and inhumane. As those territories are where he would most likely be serving, Mori feels morally obliged to protest the IDF. Read his blogpost here for a much longer and much more eloquent explanation.
We will update this as we get more information, and you can follow Rothman on his blog. You can also go here for information on the legal specifics of the case, or if you’d like to show Rothman your support.