Yonatan Shapira, 32, is a Captain in the Israeli Air Force reserves. Yonatan is also a military refuser.
Yonatan joined the IDF in 1991 and graduated from the Israel Air Force flight course in 1993. He served as a regular in the Air Force until 1999. While a regular, Yonatan flew primarily as a rescue and assault helicopter pilot, completing well over 100 missions, including missions in Lebanon.
In 2001, while a civilian pilot and member of the Reserves, Yonatan was called back to service to become one of the founding members of the Israel Air Force's new Black Hawk squadron, for which he received specialized training in Alabama. Following initiation of the squadron, Yonatan resumed his status in the reserves. As a reservist, he served as a pilot, operations leader and instructor.
In October 2003, Yonatan, along with 26 others, signed a declaration refusing to participate in aerial attacks on populated areas in the Palestinian Territories because of the belief that these attacks are illegal, immoral and do not serve the security of Israel. Following this act, Yonatan was dismissed from service by the Israeli Air Force commander, General Dan Halutz.
Yonatan lives in Tel Aviv and, in addition to
his work as a pilot, volunteers for "SELA," the Israeli Crisis Management Center, an organization dedicated
to aiding new immigrants and victims of terror.