Orthodox Jews in N.Y. Protest Israeli Draft Bill

Protesters also say they're against Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews staged a mass prayer in New York City to protest Israel's proposal to draft ultra-Orthodox citizens into its army.

Sunday's gathering in Manhattan brought together a community of New York's most Orthodox Jews who are based in Brooklyn and in the village of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, north of the city.

Protester Yitz Farkas, an American citizen, said religious Jews should not be forced to join a secular army. Protesters also said they are against Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and that they believe Israel should exist only after the Messiah arrives.

On Sunday, organizers said they would honor their tradition of separating men from women at religious events by doing the same at the rally.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest the Israeli draft bill in Manhattan, March 9, 2014.Credit: The Lakewood Group

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