Mailbag: Sept. 25

""Israel's ‘Prisoners of Conscience'"" article omits significant information


The premise of Gabriel Matthew Schivone's article ""Israel's ‘Prisoners of Conscience,'"" that Maya Wind and Netta Mishly were imprisoned for refusing to serve in the military, omits crucial facts and is deceptive and misleading. Specifically, while all Israeli 18 year olds are required to perform national service, not all Israelis are required to serve combat duty. Israelis may apply for exemptions for religious, moral or medical reasons. Israelis who do not wish to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces may instead apply for National Service, a program that started in 1971, where they volunteer at hospitals or for other worthy charities. As of 2005, there were about 10,000 Israelis who were in National Service programs instead of Israeli Defense Forces service. An Israeli citizen can choose National Service over the army by obtaining an exemption at least ninety days before their conscription date. It is obvious from the few facts contained in Schivone's article that the girls didn't apply for an exemption, but waited to instead be drafted and then disobeyed orders, most likely to obtain publicity.

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Lest the girls' punishment, a little more than two months in jail, seem harsh, it is important to note that this is a lenient punishment when compared to other democracies. In South Korea, hiding from or cheating the draft process is punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, when the United States had a draft in the 1960s, draft dodgers were punished with fines and imprisonment. Famously, Mohammed Ali was fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in prison for his failure to comply with the draft.


To omit these crucial facts and write an article devoid of any context, stinks of bias and rank incompetence. Worse, publishing drivel unsubstantiated by basic fact-checking embarrasses not only the Daily Wildcat, but the UA as well.



Jonathan Messing

Pre-business junior


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