The IDF this week sent text messages to the phones of 3,000 deserters, personnel absent without official leave (AWOL). They received a warning to come in and report as the military is embarking on an aggressive campaign to locate them. Simultaneously, the military is working with the Ministry of Justice to amend the law to permit stiffer sanctions against deserters. These sanctions would significantly impact one’s life, including a prohibition on getting a drivers license, or renew a teudat zehut identity card or passport. The ban will also extend to a gun license.
The Ynet report states the response to the SMS messages was impressive as many deserters contacted the IDF only a short time after the messages were sent. To be considered a “deserter”, one must be absent for a minimum of 21 day.
Previous legislation introduced by former MK Yoni Chetboun also prohibits a deserter from obtaining state funding for education. The new restrictions would also ban one from public office.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)