Haredi protest in Jerusalem against draft.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Several hundred haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men associated with an extremist faction rioted on Sunday, protesting the arrest of a yeshiva student who has not reported to the IDF for military service and was caught by police in Eilat visiting night clubs.
Demonstrations took place in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, as well as on Route 4 and Route 444 just north of the predominantly haredi city of Elad.
Throngs of protesters tried to block Bar-Ilan Street, a large north Jerusalem thoroughfare, but were dispersed by police. One policeman was injured by stones thrown by the rioters and was treated on the spot.
In total, 31 protesters were arrested around the country for rioting and disturbing the public order.
The violent demonstrations started on Thursday after a haredi yeshiva student from Elad was arrested in Eilat.
The student and three of his friends had been visiting the Crazy Elephant night club and then hailed a cab to take them to the main promenade where they wanted to find a pub.
According to the police, the group of four yeshiva students underpaid for their cab ride by NIS 5 and the cab driver, who was unhappy with their behavior, reported them to the police.
The police were able to identify and locate the youths, and upon detaining them discovered that one of them had not reported to the IDF for the preliminary drafting process.
According to the police report, none of the yeshiva students was wearing any religious items such as yarmulkes or tzitzit; they were dressed like secular young men on a night out.
In an interview with news website Haredim 10, the cab driver explained that it was the rude behavior of the four young men, which included them throwing an NIS 20 bill at him, which led him to make the complaint to the police.
Although the large majority of haredi men do not serve in the IDF, most report to the enlistment offices when they receive their call-up orders, and then subsequently gain deferrals.
A group known as the Jerusalem Faction led by the hardline Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach has instructed its yeshiva students to not report for the preliminary process and opposes any cooperation with the state over the issue of haredi enlistment to the army.
Yeshiva students and others associated with the Jerusalem Faction have been primarily responsible for the riots over the past few days, which also occurred in Beit Shemesh.