Amid the massacres in Gaza it can be easy to forget that not all Israelis back the slaughter. Meet Sahar Vardi a brave young Israeli who has dedicated her life to activism.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative gives us this background:
“Activism has always been a part of her family’s life. Sahar’s father refused to do his obligatory military service in the first intifada. During the second intifada he became active with Ta’ayush, a coexistence group of Israelis and Palestinians that mostly work in the occupied territories. When Sahar was a young girl she would join her father to do agricultural work with Palestinian villagers, mainly planting trees.”
Sahar witnessed first-hand the impact the occupation had on the livelihoods of the villagers. Sahar recalls that:
“The shock was not from the brutality of the occupation or of a specific soldier, but from witnessing the ordinary day to day situation of going through checkpoints, fearing the demolition of their homes and knowing that every 18-year old soldier has the power to control their life.”
At age 14, Sahar began to go to demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall, mostly in the village of Bil’in in the West Bank.
“I realize that the soldier at the checkpoint is not responsible for the wretched policy of oppression of Palestinian civilians, and yet I am unable to relieve that soldier of the responsibility for his own actions … I mean the human responsibility of not causing suffering to another human being.”
Sahar served three prison sentences for her refusal to be conscripted into Israel’s military service.
In the video above she speaks of gender and refusal in Israel, regarding her long experience with protests and joint Palestinian-Israeli activities. Sahar speaks about how she broke out of what the Israeli education system had taught her to finally refuse military service and become part of a joint Israeli-Palestinian struggle.
(via Nobel Women’s Initiative)