Every able-bodied Israeli has to serve in the military when they turn 18. Exceptions are made for Arab citizens and ultra–Orthodox Jews, but not for the country’s 125,000 Druze, an Arabic-speaking ethnic and religious minority that is primarily based in the north of the country.
Last October, a 17-year-old Druze from Galilee named Omar Saad took a stand against Israel’s mandatory military service when he refused to appear at the recruitment office for a medical examination. In Omar’s widely circulated open letter to the government, he wrote, “Many of our Druze men served in the Israeli army… But what did we get out of this? We are discriminated against on all levels. Our villages are the poorest, our land has been confiscated, there is no urban planning or industrial areas…” Omar hasn’t backed down in the months since his letter went public, and with his graduation approaching I thought I’d call him up and see how things were going.
Armed conflicts and attacks
Kenyan AMISOM troops, advancing towards the al-Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo, “deliberately” shoot dead seven Somali civilians, according to a Somali Army spokesman. The Hizbul Islam faction announces that it leaves the al-Shabaab. (BBC)
Business and economy
Senkaku Islands dispute: An estimated 1,000 people protest in Taipei over Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands. (Kyodo News)
Law and crime
Three bloggers in Vietnam are sentenced to four, ten and twelve years’ imprisonment for “anti-state propaganda”. (al-Jazeera)
Former Israeli minister of industry, trade and labor Ehud Olmert, who is also a former prime minister, is given a fine and a suspended 1-year jail sentence for cronyism while in office. A bribery case related to a housing project in Jerusalem is still being investigated. (Reuters)
The U.S. military announces that two U.S. Marines are charged with urinating on Taliban corpses in Afghanistan and failing to stop other misconduct by subordinates. (BBC)
Politics and elections
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe says recent parliamentary elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair. VRT calls them “a farce”. (Reuters)(VRT)
This is a facebook group that Israeli people opened to protest leaders intentions of war with Iran (or with anyone else for that matter). The protest comes in the form of uploading their images with anti-war captions.
Link to the actual group, please help spread it