Refuzniks are the Israeli people who are unwilling to serve in the army. For different reasons they reject what it seems to be a compulsory stage in a militarized society.
From childhood to adolescence, schools and institutes, invite soldiers to their classrooms to explain the role and importance of the army. Almost in any job and at each university, Israeli are asked what they did in the army.
In fact, Israel has the world record for expenditure on armaments per capita: US.$ 1429. Tsahal has 186.500 soldiers and may mobilize 445.000 reservists.
Nowadays, half of Israelis beggins military service at 18 years old (3 years for men, 2 years for women). However, it can be avoided if you may present any physical or mental problem.
For Israeli Arabs (18% of the population) and the Haredim Jews (who make religious studies), the military service is not compulsory.
Many of the refuzniks are pacifists. In this case they will have to go to a committee that will decide whether the person has or has not the right to avoid doing the military service. Others choose to say clearly that they are against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The punishment for these people is the military prison. The penalty can vary from 2 months to 2 years. There are also people who avoid the military service for personal reasons (studies, work, family...)
The movement of Refuzniks is acquiring importance although it is not well accepted in the country.
This serie of portraits aims to show a hidden part of Israel.
This work is from a 200-page book published by Libertalia (France) with 47 portraits and about 15 contextual photos. The interviews of these Refuzniks (much longer than here) were conducted between 2008 and 2017.
This book was awarded at the «Rendez-vous Photo» festival (Strasbourg - France) of which Paolo Woods was the artistic director.