October 23, 2023

Escaping the Draft – in Israel


Escaping the Draft – in Israel
Israeli APCs near the border with Gaza. Sparkle, Twitter.

Russian citizens living in Israel have requested the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tel-Aviv to evacuate them to Russia, so that they can avoid being drafted by the Israeli military. However, Russia is also at war and is recruiting its male citizens.

After Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war. Israel drafted a record 300,000 reservists for an impending ground offensive on the Gaza Strip. Many Russian-Israeli dual citizens were among the recruits.

Over a million people from the former Soviet Union reside in Israel, and over 37,000 Russian citizens arrived at Ben-Gurion airport after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. Among the emigres were men avoiding the draft.

The Russian government has introduced an electronic draft notification that can reach citizens abroad who are registered with the military. Refusing to enlist can lead to severe consequences, including the inability to register or sell properties and prohibition from driving a vehicle inside Russia. Citizens summoned to the army who return to Russia are banned from leaving the country again. Consequences for refusing enlistment can include imprisonment.

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