AN EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Ben-Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The extremist haredi (ultra-Orthodox) group that brought roads to a standstill across the country in recent months announced plans on Sunday to create further chaos in the run-up to Passover by disrupting traffic around Ben-Gurion Airport.
The Jerusalem Faction is a political splinter group – a breakaway from mainstream Askenazi, non-hassidic haredim – that fiercely opposes any cooperation with the government over issues of military service.
Several yeshiva students associated with the faction have been arrested by military police in the past few months for failing to present themselves for preliminary processing in order to receive ongoing military service deferrals. That led to numerous unauthorized demonstrations in which the Jerusalem Faction blocked major traffic arteries and junctions around the country.
“In light of the escalation of the harassment of the regime against prisoners of the Torah world, it has been decided to expand the protest in these days in order that it reach the ears of the entire world,” announced the Committee for Saving the Torah World, the group associated with the Jerusalem Faction that organizes the protests.
The announcement specified a protest march it plans to hold near the airport “in front of the eyes of foreign tourists who are coming to Israel.”
The declaration warned airline passengers to track announcements by the committee for precise times and dates of the protests, in order to change flights or leave early to get to the airport on time.
“If this early announcement, which is designed for the benefit of the public, is used for hostile preparations in the field which will interfere and prevent the protest marches, we will be forced to conduct the protest at different times without pre-notification,” the statement added.
The group has not yet announced a date for the protest, though it is expected to be sometime this week, ahead of the holiday.
Two students associated with the Jerusalem Faction are currently in military prison; one from the Grodno Yeshiva in Ashkelon and one from a kollel, a yeshiva for married students, in Beit Shemesh.
The committee said that on Sunday, Yisrael Meir Toledano, a student at Grodno Yeshiva, was sentenced by the military court in Jaffa to 56 days in military prison for failing to present himself at an IDF enlistment office for preliminary processing.
He has already been held for 20 days, which will be deducted from the total time he is required to serve. A hearing will be held to decide whether to grant him leave for Passover.