For the first time ever, an Israel Defense Force reservist with right-wing sympathies has been tried and jailed for refusing a call-up for military service.
In the past, scores of reservists with left-leaning sympathies have been detained in military stockades for refusing to carry out their duties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Their refusal to respond to call-up orders was typically based on the grounds of conscientious objection to undertaking police duties in the territories, where armed reservists often find themselves in head-on confrontations with rockthrowing youths.
Their punishments generally ran from 14 to 28 days’ detention in military stockades. But many of them have served consecutive terms for rejecting new call-up orders that were handed them as they left the army stockade after their initial prison term.
Now the first so-called right-wing “refusenik” has been sentenced for refusing to obey a call-up order. His refusal was a protest against the government’s peace policy.
The incident occurred, however, before Israel and the Palestinians reached a preliminary agreement for Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.
Reserve Capt. Mordechai Karpel, 40, a resident of the Bat Ayin settlement in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem, sent a letter to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin several weeks ago, refusing a reserve call-up notice.
He stated that Rabin’s policy was “leading unequivocally to the establishment of an alien state in the Land of Israel.”
Karpel was sent home at the time without any action taken, other than to send him a second call-up order. But he again rejected the order and sent a second letter to Rabin, who also retains the portfolio of Israel’s Defense Ministry.
Karpel was this time put on trial for refusing an IDF order and was sentenced last week to 14 days’ detention.