(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Authorities said Thursday that an estimated 600 haredi demonstrators blocked highway 4 to protest the imprisonment of ultra-Orthodox youth for failing to enlist in compulsory military service.
At least seven of the protestors were taken into custody following the demonstration, police added. Authorities said that the rest of the participants were bused back to their neighborhoods, with traffic flow returning to normal.
The protestors are a part of an extremist ultra-orthodox group called The Jerusalem Faction that instructs yeshiva students associated with it not to report for preliminary processing in IDF enlistment offices when ordered to do so at age 17 or 18, rendering them deserters who are liable for arrest by military police.
Most other haredi yeshiva students do report for preliminary processing and are then eligible for the military service exemptions because of their yeshiva studies, which the majority take.
The Jerusalem Faction has been instructing its yeshiva students not to cooperate with the IDF for several years, and more and more men associated with it have been arrested in recent months, often in demonstrations against haredi enlistment.
Last week, nine men associated with the group were indicted for disturbing the public order, attacking police, and other misdemeanors during such demonstrations, the latest of nearly 70 such indictments filed in 2017.
The Jerusalem Faction’s operations are largely part of an internal political struggle within the haredi world against the mainstream political grouping headed by Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman.
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