Dear Family, Friends and Supporters,
On Wednesday, February 20, 2002, our pacifist son, Yinnon Hiller, age
20, appeared a second time before the Israeli Supreme Court in his
ongoing quest to be released on grounds of conscience from enlisting in
the military. We would like to share with you the history of the case,
the positive events of the 2nd hearing, and our hopes for the future.
We have chronicled at the end of this report a number of significant
dates for your interest.
In Israel, the military’s so called “conscience committee” does not
exempt young secular Jewish men from enlisting in the military.
Yinnon’s endeavor to change Israeli law for young secular Jewish men has
been a process that has taken over 4 years, more the
1/5 of his life.
Yinnon, acting on his belief that a person should serve his/her country,
has since graduation from High School devoted himself to voluntary work
with children. His example of initiating an alternative civilian service
strengthens the point that there are many ways an individual can work to
After Yinnon repeatedly tried but failed in his attempts to convince
military to exempt him on grounds of conscience, we filed an appeal to
the Supreme Court in December 2000. This was no simple matter, because
it took 6 attempts to find a lawyer willing to represent Yinnon in his
endeavors (inclusive of being turned down twice by lawyers working for
the Association for Citizens Rights in Israel). The first hearing of
the case in March 2001 resulted in a court injunction ordering the state
to explain its refusal to exempt Yinnon from military service on grounds
At the second hearing on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 the panel of
judges headed by Hon. Dalia Dorner and together with Hon. Yakov Terkel
and Hon. Eliezer Rivlin, decreed another court injunction in favor of
Yinnon. The state was ordered to establish a comprise that would exempt
Yinnon from military service on grounds of his belief and allow him to
continue his work with children. The State was given 4 months to comply
with the injunction.
Yinnon’s appeal was consolidated with the appeal of another pacifist,
Amir Melenky, age 18, who just recently appealed to be exempted from
military service. Amir, as Yinnon, asks to perform alternative civilian
service instead of military service. Consequently this injunction order
was in Amir’s favor too.
The importance of such a ruling is significant. We feel it is quite
breakthrough in Israeli military policy. For, even though the state has
been given additional time to negotiate a suitable compromise for
pacifists requesting to do civilian service, it was made clear by the
judges that the state must find an alternative to military service.
Below is a chronological sketch of the events in this case.
Early Spring 1997- Yinnon makes
known to family and close friends
his intentions not to serve, stating that he can not belong to any
organization that promotes war. He will not carry a gun and not wear a
October 9, 1998- Yinnon
writes to the Minister of Defense,
Yitzchak Mordecai requesting to be exempted for military service.
April 18, 1999-
Yinnon appears for the first time before the
Conscience Committee, a military body that evaluates pacifists.
September 8, 1999- Yinnon appeared before the
military officer that
heads the induction authority, Colonel Nissim Barda in a private
interview. He is offered a job as an orderly in a hospital, but only on
the condition that he enlists. Yinnon turns down the offer. The military
stands firm on its perception of pacifists and Yinnon’s appeal.
October 31, 1999 - Yinnon receives a letter
stating that both
forums, the Conscience Committee and Colonel Barda refute his belief in
pacifism. He is required to serve as an orderly.
December 28, 1999- Yinnon turns to the Shlomit Association,
organization that works with volunteers, especially women, all of whom
have received exemptions from the army. He requests a placement as a
volunteer working with children
January 10, 2000- The Shlomit Association turns him down.
February 14, 2000- Yinnon receives a letter
from the Induction
Authority stating that in spite of his request to find a volunteer
position with the Shlomit Association, he is to be conscripted. A draft
date is set for March 14, 2000. The youth movement he is working for as
a youth counselor intervenes, induction date postponed.
September 24, 2000- Yinnon appears for a second time before
Conscience Committee. He requests legal representation during the time
of the interview, now that he finally has a lawyer. His request is
November 9, 2000- Yinnon receives a letter from
Committee turning down his request once again for an exemption.
November 19, 2000- Yinnon receives an induction date for
December 3, 2000- Yinnon appeals to the Israeli High Court.
December 7, 2000- Yinnon’s lawyers request
a stay of the induction
date until a decision is made in his appeal.
March 27, 2001-
The first hearing in the High Court takes
place. The state is handed an injunction order. The court requests they
justify why the military did not accept Yinnon’s Pacifism and grant him
an exemption. The court allowed 4 months to reply, but the injunction
order eventually was extended due another 3 months at the state’s
February 20, 2002- The second hearing
in the High Court takes
We again wish to thank you all for your continued support. May
the landmark case that opens the door in Israel to exempt all pacifists
from military service, or at the very least, those in Yinnon’s
You can follow our updates on Yinnon and other CO’s on the New Profile
The Hiller Family