Hundreds of Haredi Jews Protest Against Military Draft in Jerusalem
JNS.org – About 1,500 haredi Jews protested in Jerusalem on Monday, amid the community’s ongoing opposition of Israel’s mandatory military conscription law.
The large crowds of protesters blocked traffic in the area of the Israeli Knesset, brought Jerusalem’s light rail to a halt and blocked off the main entrance to the capital on Highway 1.
Police used crowd control measures to disperse the protesters, and at least 10 people were arrested.
Monday’s demonstrations follow similar protests last week, which saw thousands of haredi Jews take to Jerusalem’s streets, with 120 being arrested.
The recent haredi demonstrations were prompted by the arrests of two yeshiva students who neglected to appear at IDF draft offices for conscription into the military.
The protests also come after a mid-September ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice that cancelled the country’s law exempting haredi Jews from compulsory IDF service while studying in yeshiva. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman voiced support for the ruling, which will come into effect within a year.
The issue of haredi military enlistment has become a flashpoint in Israeli politics in recent years, with the country’s secular majority calling for the religiously observant to share their burden of national service. Those within the religious sector who refuse too serve in the IDF claim the military does not provide an appropriate and safe framework for religious participants.