Canadian-Israeli woman jailed for not fulfilling military service granted clemency

TORONTO (JTA) — Yana Gorelik, the Canadian-Israeli who was imprisoned on charges of evading military service in Israel, was granted clemency and her jail term was reduced.

Gorelik, 30, was released from an Israeli military prison on Monday, the Times of Israel reported. She served about half of her three-month sentence, which was the result of a plea bargain reached with the Israel Defense Forces in late September.

According to the terms of the agreement, the month she spent in jail before sentencing was deducted from her punishment.

Gorelik said Israeli authorities treated her like a "delinquent" and "like we were dogs."

"That’s it. I am finished with Israel. I don’t want to be a citizen anymore," the Times of Israel quoted her as saying.

Gorelik, a dual citizen, moved from Israel to Canada with her family at age 17 and had visited Israel twice before without incident. But upon arriving in Israel from London on Sept. 2, authorities told her to report to an army base the next day to sign paperwork and settle her affairs with the military.

Once she got to the base, she was arrested and imprisoned.

The Israeli army claimed that after Gorelik received her draft order at age 17, she was obliged to report for military duty. The IDF said she did not obtain an exemption or begin the process to get one, and was considered a deserter.

Gorelik countered that Israeli missions in Canada and London had told her that because of her age as displayed on her new passport, she did not need to file for an exemption.

Gorelik reportedly intends to return to Canada soon.
 

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