Conscientious refusal to participate in acts which are immoral although legal is a world wide phenomenon. It isn’t new. We don’t hear about the brave souls in highly repressive countries that risk death or imprisonment, but they exist. We celebrate them when they resist regimes we don’t like, as in Iran. But we have our own prisoners of conscience. We know more about the ones in freer societies and their voices also deserve to be heard.
There are thousands in Israel. One group are the Shministim, “twelth graders”:
On April 28, 1970, a group of high school seniors about to be drafted sent a letter to Prime Minister Golda Meir expressing their reservation about the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the War of Attrition and the government’s failure to take steps to avoid conflict. In 1987, a new group was formed, also made up of high school students intent on refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories. They gave themselves the name that the press used to dub the previous effort – ‘Shministim’ (Hebrew: שמיניסטים), literally “twelfth graders”. In 2001, a high-school refusers movement – also called Shministim followed in their stead. Over 3,000 Israeli high school students are currently members of Shministim. (Wikipedia)
These are teen agers. Kids. Going to jail. Some in this video have served multiple prison terms. They are still a minority in their society and are prosecuted by their government and often scorned by their peers and parents. You can support them by sending a letter. It’s easy. The Reveres have already done it. Here’s the link. And here are their voices and faces: