Hundreds of members of an extremist ultra-Orthodox group known as the Jerusalem Faction demonstrated in the city Thursday afternoon against the draft.
Some protesters clashed with police at the intersection of Jaffa and Sarei Israel streets. Police arrested 46 — some for blocking the road and the light-rail, others on warrants for draft evasion.
Police used water cannons and other measures to disperse the crowd. One policewoman was treated in a hospital for injuries. The group’s operational arm, The Committee to Save the Torah World, organized the protest.
“Following the criminal arrest of yeshiva student Eitan Rada, who was jailed for refusing to report at the enlistment office as part of our battle against the enlistment decrees, our great Torah scholars have ordered people to go out and announce a huge protest in the streets of the city,” the committee said in a statement Wednesday.
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“The Haredi public understands today more than ever that the targets and quotas of the recent draconian draft laws are a terrible decree of extermination whose goal is to destroy and secularize the ultra-Orthodox community.”
Ultra-Orthodox men who respond to their call-up notices can usually have their service deferred for as long as they remain full-time yeshiva students, and most Haredi men do so. The bill in question would not change this, though it does seek to encourage more Haredim to serve.
But members of the Jerusalem Faction refuse even to report to the enlistment office to obtain a deferment, becoming draft-dodgers as a result.