The Jerusalem District Court Justice Noam Solberg rejected a request from 24-year-old Yaniv Harel, who is seeking to extend his passport towards completing medical school studies in Columbia University. He request was rejected because he is officially listed as a draft evader by the IDF.
Harel was born and raised in Beersheva and left Israel at the age of 12, together with his parents. They returned but Yaniv left again at the age of 17, ignoring his IDF service, now listed as a draft evader.
Harel was pre-med in Columbia, and he applied to extend his passport via the Israeli Consulate, which forwarded his request to the Interior Ministry. The ministry rejected the request since he is listed as a draft dodger. He was stunned by the response, believing his request was a formality, and explains he even tried to reach agreement, stating upon completion of his medical training he would volunteer as a physician in the IDF, willing to sign on as a career army physician. His offer was rejected.
He then turned to the court, stating he does not feel the minister of the interior has the right to link his request to military service. The ministry responded angrily, stating he and his family left “in the heart of the Second Intifada” while his friends were entering the IDF, but he opted to do otherwise.
The court ruled the ministry is well within its right to link renewal of a passport with one’s compliance with the law demanding one fulfill one’s requirements to the security of the nation.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)