Sydney woman jailed in Israel over Yom Kippur for evading army service


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A 27-year-old Sydney woman spent Yom Kippur in jail in Israel for allegedly evading army service a decade ago.

Natalie Gershoig was detained at Ben Gurion Airport on Oct. 2 upon arriving in the country to visit her Israeli mother. She was sent to the Israel Defense Forces’ recruitment office and later appeared at a hearing into her alleged draft evasion, according to Israeli media reports.

Gershoig has spent five days, including Yom Kippur, in military jail while she awaits her court hearing Monday, according to her father, Alex.

While he said the family had been traumatized by the affair, Alex Gershoig added, “One thing I’m glad about is that it’s a Jewish jail, so I’m sure she’ll be taken care of.”

He also said, “I don’t want to aggravate any situation by putting any undue pressure on the court.”

Alex Gershoig said his daughter, a former student at Yeshiva College in Sydney, left Israel about 10 or 11 years ago to return to Australia.

“She was there for a couple of years attending school,” he said. “I was very ill at the time, so she flew back to Australia.”

Alex Gershoig said he was not aware of his daughter receiving any notification about military service from the army. But a warrant for her arrest apparently was issued after she failed to appear for mandatory military service a decade ago.


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