Shministim. Have you ever heard of them? They are conscientious objectors. “Conscientious objection”, in a group of young kids’ definition, is the refusal to serve the Israeli army for reasons of conscience. Young Israeli high-school students who have declared themselves conscientious objectors. They are young people with enough courage to stand up against what they disagree with. They are Israelis who want to continue being free Israelis.
The Shministim – all between 16 and 19 years old and just finishing high school – are conscientious objectors and they are in jail.
They believe in a better future for themselves, for Israelis, and for Palestinians. Besides being in jail, they endure enormous pressure from family, friends, and the Israeli Government. “They need our support and they need it now” declares a communique in circulation through emails and websites worldwide.
They hope to receive hundreds of thousand of postcards that will be given to the Israeli Defense Minister. Twenty-two thousand letters have arrived so far (see the website below).
> “Especially now that bombs are falling on Gaza, we are reminded that when soldiers say no to something illegal, lives are spared” declares another part of the communiqué.
The Shministim hope to represent not only the thousands that preceded them, nor only the large number of young people for whom they are an example, but they also want to represent the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who also want peace.
December 18 marked the launch of the worldwide campaign for the release of these young people. The campaign, the support letter, and the stories of these young people are on the web. Watch the video on the following website: www.december18th.org
The Shministim asked the group “Jewish Voice for Peace” to find people in the global civilian society to let the Israeli government know that there are other conscientious objectors worldwide who support their courage.