Noam Yaron

I, Noam Yaron, an Israeli social worker, 31, served as a combat soldier and commander in the field intelligence corps in the occupied territories (Gaza and West Bank). 
My message to Israeli soldiers is: Before being soldiers, you are human beings, first and foremost. Each one of you is responsible for his actions, and the responsibility for your conscience is not at the hands of your commanders or the government. One day your compulsory army service will end, and you'll see that there are so many ways of doing good. Don't stain your future now by shooting unarmed protesters. Refuse a blatantly illegal order. 
As part of my service in the occupied territories, we used to position ourselves in clandestine lookout spots. And one time, during operational action, we were exposed by the Palestinian Police. They did not receive instructions to arrest us but we received instructions to threaten them. We were reprimanded in the following debriefing - for not having shot to kill these police officers! 
This terrible order, stipulating: An armed Palestinian = terrorist, and that a police officer, hunter or boy - should be killed, was with me throughout my service, along with other incidents - spreading urine on roofs of Palestinian families, seizing an innocent family's home, forcing all of them into their living room for a whole day - I realized clearly that if I serve in the occupied territories, and unfortunately in the Israeli army in general - I do not maintain our security, but rather - I'm a part of an occupying force which denies basic human rights under cynical politicians. The army doesn't care about my security of the quality of my life.
Today I still believe it's important to make this land better and make the lives of people here better, but I've chosen a new path. I studied social work, I worked for several years as an LGBT youth coordinator and as a social worker I worked with a supportive community for young mentally challenged people. I am now starting a rehabilitation-in-nature project for people with mental disabilities, and I'm active in the Yesh Gvul refusal group. 
I decided my true way of serving this place would be to refuse in accordance with my conscience. Thus, when I received an army call-up, I reported to my unit but refused to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories. I was threatened with a court-martial and imprisonment but was eventually discharged.