WATCH: Rioting haredi men prevent arrest of AWOL yeshiva students

The mob eventually succeeded in flipping over a Military Police vehicle.

February 9, 2016 10:42
2 minute read.

Military Police arresting draft-dodger attacked by haredi rioters in Ashdod

Military Police arresting draft-dodger attacked by haredi rioters in Ashdod

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon denounced riots late Monday night in Ashdod in which several dozen haredi youths assaulted a team of military policemen seeking to arrest a haredi man who failed to report to an IDF draft office.

Large numbers of young haredi men gathered in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in the city in order to prevent the Military Police from gaining access to the draft dodger. At one stage a military police vehicle was overturned by the rioters.

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Larger police forces were sent to the scene to rescue the military policemen and to disperse the rioters. Several police vehicles were lightly damaged by stones thrown at them during the operation, although no injuries were reported.

The individual sought by the Military Police was not found.

“The violent attacks last night against IDF soldiers who were carrying out their duties in Ashdod, and against police personnel called to assist them, is intolerable and requires a hard line to be taken against the rioters,” Ya’alon said on his Facebook page.

“We must not be tolerant of an extremist minority and of law breakers who lift their hands against IDF soldiers, or who are violent in general. They must be punished severely.” Ya’alon said he expects haredi leaders to condemn the incident.

A spokesperson for the Lachish police said that it viewed the incident as extremely serious and that all efforts would be made to identify those involved in it and to bring them to justice.

A similar incident took place recently in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Jerusalem, but large numbers of haredi men who flocked to the area prevented the Military Police from locating and arresting the wanted individuals.

The Yesh Atid Party condemned the rioters and their contempt for the law.

“Disobeying the law while using violence against law enforcement personnel is dangerous and must not be enabled,” the party said in a statement to the press.

“All means must be used against this, so that these incidents are not repeated. We call on the heads of the haredi community to condemn these acts and to work through all means available against violence toward the security forces and law enforcement agencies.”

Failing to report for the IDF draft renders an individual a deserter.

The vast majority of haredi men do present themselves when required and subsequently receive their military service deferrals or exemptions. A radical faction has in recent years instructed yeshiva students associated with the group not to report to draft offices when called in protest originally at the haredi conscription law passed by the last government.

The faction is however opposed to the repeal of that law by the current government, arguing that the law passed in its stead nevertheless preserves the principle of drafting yeshiva students from the haredi community into military service, which the group ardently opposes.

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