Like most young adults in Israel, Atalya is required to join the army. She strongly objects to the army’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and doesn’t want to be part of it. But she’s also scared that if she refuses to do military service, people will view her as a traitor. She talks at length about her intentions with family members, who have differing opinions on the matter. It’s striking how much real listening is done, and how much space there is for dissenting views. The way her grandfather lovingly clasps her hand in his as he says it’s “so stupid” to be an objector, is telling.
While preparing herself for a possible jail sentence of indefinite length, Atalya makes increasingly frequent visits to the occupied territories. There, she sees Palestinians being chased from their homes, which are subsequently destroyed. She also gets into contact with other objectors. Slowly but surely, she transforms from a 19-year-old with a strong sense of justice into a leader of a group of young people who are saying “no” to the occupation, and who don’t see military service the way the older generations do: as a necessary step on the road to adulthood.