Hundreds of haredi men from radical sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community rallied once again in Jerusalem Tuesday night in protest at the ongoing detention of two yeshiva students by the army, and against enlistment to the military and national service programs in general.
Protestors blocked off the Kikar Hashabbat junction to traffic and set fire to trash cans and dumpsters but police did not attempt to enforce the flow of vehicles.
At least 11 demonstrators were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace during the rally the police said.
Several senior rabbis from the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit organization and other hardline haredi factions addressed the crowd which entirely filled up the junction, and inveighed against plans to draft haredim into the army as well as the arrest of the yeshiva students.
Both men, who are 18 and 19 years old, were arrested last week for failing to report to IDF enlistment offices when called to do so.
They are both currently in jail at the IDF’s Prison 6 in the north, close to Atlit and their ongoing detention is generating anger within the extremist factions of the haredi community.
One sign held aloft at Tuesday night’s demonstration read: “We will fill up the military & civilian prisons but we will never betray our faith and report [for service] at IDF enlistment offices.”
Another read: “We are Jews and not Zionists, so therefore we will not enlist to the Zionist army.”
Rabbi David Zicherman, a member of the hardline Jerusalem Faction which instructs its adherents not to present themselves to enlistment offices when called by the IDF, railed against the notion of haredi enlistment and labeled the IDF “an army of destruction.”
“We are not afraid of going to jail or of being arrested,” Zicherman declared.
“We are opposed to the secular regime that takes away [yeshiva] boys against their will,” he continued.
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