30-year-old Canadian citizen Yana Gorelik, who also holds Israeli citizenship, arrived in Israel on Sunday 15 Elul 5772 to attend a family simcha, the wedding of a cousin. She and her parents moved to Canada when she was 17, and she has since visited a number of times without incident.
This time however, she was taken into custody at Ben-Gurion International Airport as she is listed as AWOL, a deserter from the IDF on airport police computers. She has been incarcerated in IDF Prison 4, and she was not permitted to attend the family simcha.
She was held in the airport for four hours, then informed that she was being taken to a military holding facility, after which she will be charged for being AWOL. The daily Maariv intervened on her behalf, and IDF officials signaled as a result, she will be released on Wednesday, 18 Elul 5772.
Speaking to Maariv from jail, Yana says “I am being held under very harsh conditions. I am dying of heat here. They are treating me like a criminal.” She described the “humiliation” of being carted out of the airport in handcuffs.
It appears that back I 2007, Yana failed to complete the paperwork for her processing with the IDF, resulting in her being listed as AWOL.
Military authorities confirm the details in the case, adding that Israelis living abroad can address their status with the IDF in consulates and embassies to avoid such situations.
According to Gorelik, as per the Israeli Consulates in Canada and London that because of her age as it appears on her new passport, there is no need to officially file for an exemption from IDF service.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)