“What to do when the country I live in totally loses its compass… when the regime that collects my taxes uses them to deploy its high-tech military, armed to the teeth, against activists sailing to oppose a criminal siege?” asks Rela Mezali of New Profile, referring to the 2010 Israeli raid on the aid flotilla heading to Gaza.
In response, the women of New Profile are trying to chart a more humane Israeli society by raising awareness of the ways Israel has grown increasingly militarized. They do this by providing legal and moral support to Israeli youth who are conscientious objectors to mandatory military service. The space New Profile provides for Israel’s youth to question militarism is rare since many cannot raise those issues in school or at home. They also have a traveling photo exhibit that takes a critical look at the militaristic contents in education, culture and media that normalize violence, particularly violence against women.
In April of 2009, the home offices of New Profile activists were raided and their computers seized. They were also under investigation for “inciting military deserters," but that case was closed due to lack of evidence. Yet, they remain fearless and focused on challenging the norm and pushing for a new paradigm for peace in Israel and Palestine.