A mass rally against the planned draft of Israeli haredi yeshiva students is set to be held in New York City on Sunday.
According to the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, the body organizing the event at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, more than 25,000 people are expected to participate in the protest against the “new policy requiring hassidic youth and yeshiva students to serve in the military.”
The Rabbinical Congress is closely affiliated with the staunchly anti-Zionist Satmar Hassidic sect.
“The reasons offered by Israeli public officials [for the draft]...
are misleading” and the protest is both “appropriate and relevant,” given the “intimate relationships” between the “faith communities in New York and New Jersey” and their counterparts in Israel, according to organizers.
In April, another draft protest slated to be held in New York was canceled due to security concerns in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, a spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel umbrella organization told The Jerusalem Post at the time.
In a letter promoting the canceled rally, Agudath Israel executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel wrote that an American protest against the expansion of the draft to include the ultra-Orthodox would serve to “help our own community better understand the nature of the [woes] facing our brethren in Eretz Yisroel if the proposed new policy is implemented, to express our deep concern about this development, and to pray for heavenly mercy in the face of this impending decree.”
Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, one of the leaders of the Israeli ultra- Orthodox community, came out against the rally, saying that it would not be beneficial.
According to a letter containing the rabbi’s views written by his sons and published on the ultra-Orthodox website Kikar Shabbat, the “main thing is to increase Torah learning, the fear of heaven and prayer” as methods of opposing conscription.
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