As a peace activist from an early age, I was deeply influenced by literature. writers such as Joseph Heller (who wrote about the absurdity of war), George Orwell (who wrote about the evil of totalitarianism) and the Israeli Amos Oz (who wrote many fascinating books about the Israeli – Palestinian conflict) influenced me very much and changed my perceptions about these issues. I hope that maybe “Writing for Peace” will spawn the new Heller or Orwell that will influence the next generation.
~Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young Adviser
Natan Blanc was born in Jerusalem, and moved to Haifa (a major city in Israel) when he was a kid. Haifa is a “mixed” city, with both Arabs and Jews, so he learned about co-existence and peace between people of different religions at an early age. During his teenage years, Natan took part in quite a few different peace activities and organizations. He was also part of a social-democrat youth movement called “hamahanot haolim.”
When Natan was 19, he was drafted (like any Israeli after high-school) to join the IDF (the Israeli army) as a combat soldier. He refused, saying he wouldn’t be part of such an army. Natan told the IDF representatives that serving in this army was against his conscience, because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.
Natan was jailed repeatedly for his refusal. In total, he was sentenced 10 times, to a total of 178 days in jail. “Eventually,” said Natan, “the army tired of me.” He began an alternative civil service the September after his incarceration.
Natan’s struggle was first of all a struggle for the freedom of conscience, but it was also a struggle for peace between the Jews and the Arabs in Israel. “I hope that my actions, then and in the future, might help end this conflict that has been going on for more than 70 years.”
Natan currently serves in the MDA (the national rescue organization) as a medic (E.M.T.I) in an ambulance. He is also involved in assisting and guiding potential conscientious military service objectors, as well as the forming and running of “Shelanoo” – a non-profit cooperative for socio-economical change.
To learn more about this conflict, Natan recommends the following Links:
If you would like to get involved, Natan recommends Seeds of Peace, or a similar program.
Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.