Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police over Israeli military draft law (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)
Nearly 20 activists have been arrested in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak after hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clashed with police over the recent arrest of a yeshiva student who tried to evade military service.
Some 500 members of the radical Jerusalem Faction took to the streets of Bnei Brak on Monday, causing traffic mayhem. During the rally, organizers instructed their followers to continue the legacy of their founder and spiritual leader, the late Rabbi Shmuel Orbach, who called on ultra-Orthodox Jews to “shake the foundations of the world” over each arrest of a yeshiva student who refuses to show up at the Israeli Defense Forces’ recruitment center.
Shouting “We’d rather die than be recruited” in Hebrew and waving placards reading “religion-persecuting nation,” protesters demanded the release of Nissan Rada, who was placed in military prison last week over failure to comply with the draft.
הפגנת "הפלג הירושלמי" בבני ברק עכשיו בעקבות מעצר "אסיר עולם התורה" ניסן ראדה. בינתיים לא דווח על עצורים pic.twitter.com/MFtMARMeDd— אלי ביתאן (@Eli_Bitan) August 6, 2018
Vocal calls against recruitment and rowdy behavior erupted in clashes with police, as security forces used water cannons to prevent the blockade of Highway 4, which runs through the area. Police were seen dragging protesters away after they refused to leave the streets and began vandalizing property. At least 19 arrests were made.
“We will not allow a disturbance of the peace and will act with determination against any incidence of violence,” police said in a statement.
בני ברק: חמישה מפגינים נעצרו במחאת הפלג הירושלמי pic.twitter.com/Ki04Mfs5hh— henews (@henews3) August 6, 2018
The 'Committee for Saving the Torah World,' which organized the protest, issued a statement vowing to fight the “apostasy and destruction” of the Torah by the Israeli authorities.
“Yeshiva students will continue not to show up to the draft office until the previous state of affairs, namely the blanket exemption of all yeshiva students, is restored,” the statement said.
For the majority of Israelis, military service is compulsory. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up around 10 percent of the Israeli population, can delay their conscription while they study at religious schools called yeshivas, however. Nevertheless, the military service remains a controversial issue as regardless of whether they are studying, they must still register at the recruitment office. Failure to do so often results in arrests, which sporadically spark massive protests.
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