The sacrifice of saying no : dynamics of conscientious objection, liberalism, and sacrifice in Israel
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This thesis engages notions of liberalism and sacrifice to argue for the exceptional goodness of Israel’s secular, Jewish conscientious objectors who operate against an illiberal and politicized military system. It examines theoretical and empirical models of democratic and republican paradigms to analyze the dynamics of Israel’s citizen/state relationship. It draws from oral histories and ethnographic works, to document the lived experiences of conscientious objectors, thus providing a case study of Israel’s democratic liberalism in action. In constructing a comparative analysis of the functionality of Israel’s military apparatus, specifically its Conscience Committee, an argument for the waning liberalism of Israel’s already hybrid political system is presented. Given the problematic functionality of Israel’s military structure and its necessarily political nature, the motives and behavior of Israel’s secular, Jewish conscientious objectors evidence their “goodness” as Israeli citizens. This thesis offers a qualitative analysis of that goodness by engaging disparate political and social theories.