RAMALLAH, West Bank — Kamal Zeidan is one of an apparently growing number of Druze youth in Israel rejecting forced service in the country's military. The 18-year-old served brief sentences twice in April for refusing conscription, and he fully expects to be summoned for a third court appearance soon.
Zeidan is a member of the Druze ethno-religious minority in Beit Jann, a town in Galilee in northern Israel. When his first conscription notice arrived April 8, he headed to Tel Aviv a week later to give notice that he was refusing to enlist. He cited "national reasons," as he considers himself a Palestinian Arab. He was ordered to spend five days in Atlit military prison before being released April 19. When he refused a second time, the military court of the conscription office affiliated with the Israeli army in Tel Aviv then sentenced him April 28 to seven more days.