Most Jewish Israelis do compulsory military service for at least two years. However, every year a small number take an ideological stance to oppose their conscription and end up in military prison. Shahar Perets is one of them. The 19-year-old has been repeatedly jailed after refusing to serve because she opposes Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Many Israelis are excused from military service because of religious or medical reasons. But, Perets’ political stand is highly unusual in a nation that sees military service as a rite of passage.
Class discussion: Why does Israel draft the vast majority of its young people into its military? Why does the United States’ military now only take volunteers? Does sharing the experience of military service create stronger social bonds? Are Israelis more actually more unified than Americans, who have very, very few citizens who serve? Do professional soldiers serving many years perform better than “citizen-soldiers” who only serve a couple years? When the United States had a military draft, who was most likely to be conscripted? Who was most likely to avoid military service?