Protests staged by hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men from extremist elements of the
haredi community in Jerusalem turned violent in the capital on Thursday, with
two arrests made and one police officer lightly wounded.
were protesting the arrest earlier this week of a yeshiva student who refused to
present himself to the IDF enlistment office. They gathered outside the Batei
Warsaw complex in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood to listen to a speech by
a local rabbi denouncing the detention of the student.
demonstrators then took to the streets, according to a police estimate, and
succeeded briefly in blocking traffic by standing, and in some cases lying, in
the middle of the road, and dragging large trash dumpsters into the path of the
traffic, which were subsequently set on fire.
Video credit: 24 News
Protesters also threw
stones at riot police forces which quickly arrived at the scene and violent
confrontations ensued between the two sides. One officer from the Border Police
was struck on the head and lightly wounded by a rock and he was taken to the
hospital for treatment.
Riot dispersal equipment, including water
cannons, were deployed to break up the demonstration and the police made two
arrests on charges of disturbing the public order.
largely from the hardline Jerusalem communities of Mea She’arim and Geula, and
are connected to the extremist and anti-Zionist Eda Haredit communal
This grouping, which numbers several thousand families in
the capital, is one of the most radical elements in the haredi
Public notices were posted throughout Mea She’arim calling on
people to protest the arrest of the yeshiva student and against haredi
enlistment to the army in general.
“We are declaring a war of survival,”
declared one poster. “Yeshiva students are kidnapped and sent to military
prison,” read another.
Tensions have heightened since the detention of
19- year old yeshiva student Moshe Elashvilli, who was arrested on Sunday for
failing to present himself at IDF enlistment offices.
associated with the Jerusalem Faction, a hardline grouping of the more
mainstream non-hassidic haredi community.
This faction, led by senior
haredi leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has taken an even harder line against
haredi enlistment than the mainstream ultra-Orthodox leadership.
Auerbach’s camp is seen as ideologically and communally separate from the
extremist Eda Haredit and Jerusalemite factions, these elements joined together
in a huge protest back in May against haredi enlistment to the IDF.
cooperation between these different groupings has been seen as a new development
in the growing haredi anger at proposed government legislation to draft yeshiva
students into national service programs.