Israeli conscientious objectors in New York find support after being shunned

The United States, New York He dreaded being referred to as a “mishtamet.” A person who avoids the draft. A person who avoids taking on responsibility. However, Asaf Calderon, a Jewish social worker, made a crucial choice at the age of 17 when he chose not to enlist in the military, which is mandatory for almost all Israeli residents. Rather, he applied for and was given a medical exemption due to mental health issues. However, there was a price to his decision. After that, Calderon, 34, noticed that his pals began to seem distant. Calderon is a soft-spoken man with round glasses and a sensitive smile. His family members lost touch with one another.


He realized that even among his loved ones, his decision had made him a pariah in Israel. In the end, he relocated to New York City. When it comes to becoming a conscientious objector—someone who declines to serve in the military for moral or ethical reasons—Calderon stated, “It doesn’t matter why you do it.” “You’re going to experience some form of exclusion.” However, the pressure he and other conscientious objectors confront has increased as a result of the Gaza War. Israel has been in charge of a military operation in the Palestinian enclave since October 7. Ground forces and aircraft bombardment have destroyed entire neighborhoods.


The onslaught comes after an estimated 1,200 people were killed in an attack on southern Israel. However, more than 30,000 Palestinians have died in the ensuing conflict, many of them were youngsters. Experts from the UN have issued a “risk of genocide” warning. “The major lie that Israeli opponents of mine have told me since the war began is that I no longer identify as Israeli. that I’m not Israeli anymore,” Calderon declared to Al Jazeera. Next was Shoresh. The group, which was partially inspired by the conflict and established at the end of November in the United States, seeks to advance anti-Zionism from the perspective of Israelis.

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