Canadian-Israeli woman jailed for not fulfilling military service gets holiday furlough

(JTA) — A woman with Canadian and Israeli citizenship who was jailed in Israel allegedly for failing to fulfill her military service was given a furlough for Rosh Hashanah.

Yana Gorelik, 30, reportedly spent the Jewish New Year at the home of an aunt in Bat Yam.

Gorelik was arrested and held in an Israeli army prison until Sunday afternoon without bail. She is scheduled to return to prison later this week, according to the Times of Israel. Her court hearing, which has been postponed twice, is set for Thursday.

She traveled from Canada to Israel nearly three weeks ago to attend her cousin’s wedding and visit family, the Toronto Star reported.

Israel is accusing Gorelik of deserting the Israeli military after moving to Toronto with her family when she was 17.

Gorelik’s family said she visited Israel in 2010 and 2011 without incident. But on arriving in Israel on Sept. 2 with her fiance, Israeli authorities told her to report to an army base the next day to sign paperwork and settle her affairs with the military. At the base she was arrested and brought to prison in central Israel, the Star reported.

The Israeli army claims that after Gorelik received her draft order when she was 17, she was legally obligated to report for two years of military service, which is standard for women who do not have exemptions.

"She left Israel without trying to initiate any process to get out of it," Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, was quoted as telling the Star.

Gorelik’s family said she attempted to settle her affairs with the Israeli army in 2007. The IDF said there was information on file showing Gorelik visited Israel that year, but would not elaborate.

Israeli Military Police began an operation in May to arrest thousands of army deserters and draft dodgers, including several foreigners, the Star reported.
 

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