Photo Credit: Flash90
MK Ayman Odeh

Members of the Joint Arab List are violating the law by encouraging youth not to enlist in the IDF, according to a new report published by Im Tirtzu.

The report, titled “Support and Encouragement by Knesset Members for Military Service Evasion,” precedes a Thursday High Court of Justice hearing of a petition filed by Likud and Otzma Yehudit to disqualify the Joint Arab List from running in the upcoming elections on the grounds of their support for terrorism.

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According to the Im Tirtzu report, members of the Joint Arab List have explicitly transgressed section 109 of Israel’s penal code, which states that a person could serve five years in prison if he or she “incited or induced a person eligible for service in the armed forces not to serve, or not report for the military draft.”

The report cites various instances in which members of the list supported or encouraged youth not to enlist in the IDF. This includes faction chairman Ayman Odeh who as recently as last month posted his support for draft-dodging on Facebook.

“I just left the house of 18-year-old Maya Brand-Feigenbaum who decided to refuse to enlist, and not to partake in the occupation regime that controls millions of Palestinians in the territories,” Odeh posted, adding, “There was so much awareness and morality in 18-year-old Maya’s consciousness when she announced: I am refusing to enlist! [Jewish draft dodgers] are our partners and together we will build a just future.”

Also last month, Joint Arab List MK Ofer Cassif – himself a draft-dodger – uploaded a post in support of draft dodging.

“Meet the brave draft refuser Maya Brand-Feigenbaum, who arrived at the draft center to declare her refusal to enlist in the occupation army,” Cassif wrote. “Be strengthened and encouraged, Maya, we are with you.”

Other Joint Arab List members named in the report as having taken part in events encouraging draft-dodging are MK Yousef Jabareen, MK Aida Touma-Suleiman, and MK Osama Saadi.

Tom Nisani, head of Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk that compiled the evidence against the Arab MKs, said the new report is “a wake-up call about the radical elements that are tearing up Israeli society from within.”

“Enforcing the law and disqualifying the Joint Arab List are the proper steps needed to stop this phenomenon,” Nisani continued. “The time has come for these inciters to sit in jail rather than in the Knesset.”

So far, the list of Israeli draft dodgers stands at fewer than 100 (the petition Brand-Feigenbaum signed with her fellow high school students in 2017 had 63 signatures). At this point it is safe to assume the IDF HR dept. will prevail.

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