Date of this Version
In the summer of 2002, Israeli students took their final exams toward a high-school diploma. At seventeen or eighteen, just before gaining their voting rights and beginning their military service, the civic studies exam confronted them with the question: “explain why conscientious objection is subversive.” With the stroke of a pen, decades of democratic deliberation on the balance between conscience and compliance, between majority rule and minority dissent, were eradicated. The students were presented with the conclusion, veiling a demand to condemn soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories. At a culminating point of their civic education, they were expected to explain why opposing the decisions of a democratic government, in the context of war, is treacherous.
Date Posted: 19 December 2006