Courage to Refuse was founded following the publication of The Combatants Letter in 2002, by a group of 50 combat officers and soldiers. The initiators of the letter, Captain David Zonshein and Lieutenant Yaniv Itzkovits, officers in an elite unit, have served for four years in compulsory service, and another eight years as reserve soldiers, including long periods of active combat both in Lebanon and in the occupied territories.
During their reserve service in Gaza, in the midst of the second Intifada, the two realised that the missions confided to them as commanders in the IDF had in fact nothing to do with the defence of the State of Israel, but were rather intended to expand the colonies at the price of oppressing the local Palestinian population. Many of the commands issued to them were, in fact, harmful to the strategic interests of Israel.
According to a survey conducted by Yaffee Center for Strategic Studies, over 25% of all Israelis sympathize with our struggle and acknowledge our civil right and moral duty to refuse to serve the occupation. Courage to Refuse accepts new signatories every week. Its members, beyond refusing to serve in the occupied territories, take part in many demonstrations, cultural events and other activities of public education aimed to end the occupation and bring peace to Israel.