Published On: Mon, Mar 3rd, 2014

Thousands of ‘ultra-orthodox’ Jews protest military draft in Israel

Jewish men, women and children, described as “ultra-Orthodox” crowded the entrance to Jerusalem on Sunday for a mass prayer rally to protest a proposed law that would force members of their community to be drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, in line with other Israeli citizens.

The demonstration brought Israel’s capital to a standstill as roads were closed and 3,500 security personnel were deployed to ensure order, according to Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Photo Mickey Rosenfeld via twitter @MickeyRosenfeld

Photo Mickey Rosenfeld via twitter @MickeyRosenfeld

The Jerusalem Post reported that “hundreds of thousands” had gathered, though the police spokesman disputed that estimate, tweeting that there were “tens of thousands” via twitter.

“The huge crowd of people congregated from under the Bridge of Strings at the city entrance, stretching past the Jerusalem International Convention Center and down Shazar Avenue, branching off along large sections of Jaffa Road, Yermiyahu Street, Sarei Yisrael Avenue, and other major thoroughfares,” the Post said of the massive crowd gathered, peacefully reciting Pslams and other prayers.

“The ultra-Orthodox insist their young men serve the nation through prayer and study, thus preserving Jewish learning and heritage, and by maintaining a pious way of life that has kept Jewish culture alive through centuries of persecution,” the Associated Press explained.

The Times of Israel reported, “Many are wearing sackcloth, symbolizing mourning for the creation of the law, following decades during which the ultra-Orthodox were able to claim an exemption from army service.”

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein warned the societal rift could lead to a “civil war.”

“The present situation is that there is record tension between the segments of society and I am concerned for the unity of the nation,” Edelstein said in Israel’s parliament.



Photo Mickey Rosenfeld via twitter @MickeyRosenfeld

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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