Friday, March 16, 2018 If anyone had any doubts that the decree to draft girls into the Israeli army is in full swing, if anyone refused to believe that religious girls were being drafted against their will, the following story should lay all doubts to rest and arouse to action every Jew whose heart feels for the suffering of his brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, as well as every human being who cares about human rights violations. For two weeks, a young religious girl named Marom, from the city of Elad, suffered in the Zionist dungeon, merely because her sisters sent in her affidavit declaring her religious status by fax, unaware that the regulations have changed and it can now be sent only by mail. She was therefore branded a “draft dodger” by the authorities, and the army prison’s enforcement officials chased her down, arrested her and persecuted her with shocking cruelty. Their stated goal was to break her spirit so that she would give in and agree to join the army.
It should be obvious to all that despite the “official” rule that religious girls are still exempt, the government is looking to find loopholes in the law in order to terrify the girls and intimidate them into giving in. They are subjecting religious girls to interrogation to “make sure” they are actually religious and knowledgeable about Jewish law, and they are going after girls from weaker communities who, they hope, will not protest too much. In this case, Marom even heard from her fellow inmates that the prison officials had received orders to make her life miserable. Here are a few example of how they treated her: When Marom was arrested, she told the officers that she needed medication, but they ignored her request. She did not receive the medication for 48 hours. Because she missed so many doses, she began to feel ill, but when she complained about that, she was punished with solitary confinement for a number of days. When she asked permission to use the bathroom, they allowed her only after 45 minutes delay. When she asked to see a doctor, they sent her a paramedic instead. On her first Sunday in prison, a lawyer from Hatzalah L’achim, an organization providing legal assistance to those who are caught up in the web of regulations surrounding the draft law, came to visit her during lunchtime. When the conversation continued after the lunch period, the female prison officer snatched Marom’s plate of food away from her despite the fact that she had not had time to eat anything. Only after she begged for it, and several secular women prisoners also accused the officer of cruelty, she returned the plate, but by this time Marom was so upset and pained that she could not bring herself to eat. The following Monday Marom did not feel well, but when she asked to see a doctor, the officer laughed at her and said, “What do you want, do you think I have a doctor in my pocket?” As soon as she went to bed, she fainted. Of course, then they quickly brought her to the doctor, who rebuked them for not bringing her in earlier. “You are playing with her life!” the doctor snapped at them. “Six months ago there was another prisoner here who collapsed because she did not receive medical attention quickly enough.” The traditionally Orthodox Jewish community believes that the State of Israel and its military actions are forbidden, and therefore they are opposed on principle to army service. How long can we be silent when Jewish girls are subjected to such treatment, simply for following their religious principles? On Wednesday, March 14, a group of protestors from Beis Shemesh came to the courthouse in Jaffa to express their outrage at Marom’s arrest and imprisonment, and the cruel treatment she received in jail, all with the goal of breaking her spirit. Inside the courthouse, a hearing took place to decide whether Marom would continue to sit in prison. The protestors raised their voices outside in encouragement for the young girl, urging her to continue standing strong against the persecutions. Those inside testified that Marom, standing behind bars in her courthouse cell, heard the voices of her supporters from outside and the speeches given over the microphone, and she was moved to tears - see video. Thank G-d, she was released on Thursday and later expressed thanks to all those who came down to encourage her, as well as all those who advocated on her behalf.