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June 10, 2013 8:31 am

Charedim Gather in Manhattan to Protest Israel Draft Bill

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Orthodox Jewish men and their children. Photo: wiki commons.

JTA – Until now, the primary storyline of the religious-secular battles in Israel has been driven by Women of the Wall, the activist group that, with their monthly prayer meetings at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, have brought more attention to the quest for religious equality in Israel than has been seen in years.

But with the massive haredi protest at the Wall last month, and today’s large showing in Lower Manhattan, the haredim have begun to mobilize. The immediate issue which brought thousands to Foley Square Sunday is the attempt to conscript haredi Orthodox Israelis into the army. A parliamentary committee advanced a bill last month that would do just that. But the banner under which the protestors gathered in Foley Square on Sunday surprised me a little, as it’s one that has been largely the domain of religious liberals: freedom of religion.

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