Several hundred haredi men from radical factions within the ultra-Orthodox
community demonstrated outside the IDF’s Prison 6 in Atlit Monday morning in
protest at the ongoing detention of two yeshiva students who were arrested for
failing to report for military duty.
The protest was organized by the
anti-Zionist Eda Haredit communal organization, while members of radical
hassidic group Toldot Aharon also participated, as well as members of the haredi
community associated with hard-line leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach.
seniormost rabbi of the Eda, Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weis, 87, was in attendance at
the protests, as was his deputy, Rabbi Moshe Shternboch, also 87, along with the
Grand Rabbi of Toldot Aharon, David Kahn, and several other senior
Despite their requests, the rabbis from the Eda were not
permitted to visit the two detainees, which generated considerable consternation
among the protesters, although the demonstration remained
Protestors held up signs saying “We will all go to prison”
and declaring their willingness to “give up their lives” for the struggle
against haredi enlistment to the army.
One sign held aloft by a
demonstrator read “Behold I am ready and willing to give up my life and to rot
in jail [in order] not to go to the impure army.”
Two haredi yeshiva
students were arrested last week for failing to present themselves to IDF
enlistment offices when ordered to do so. Both of them decided not to report for
service in accordance with the ruling of Auerbach, unlike the majority of haredi
yeshiva students who do currently report to IDF enlistment offices when ordered
to do so, as instructed by mainstream haredi leader Rabbi Aharon Leib
The arrests have led to a spate of demonstrations in
Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and outside Prison 6 next to Atlit conducted by more
radical elements of the haredi community.
A government bill to increase
haredi enlistment is being reviewed in a special Knesset committee at the
moment, and the panel members are expected to vote on the central components of
the legislation in the coming weeks.