Ultra-Orthodox stage celebration in honor of 63 'Torah prisoners' in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: ILANIT CHERNICK)
The Jerusalem Faction, an extremist ultra-Orthodox group, blocked the main entrance to Jerusalem on Tuesday night, to “honor the 63 imprisoned Torah scholars” who were detained during the winter for prolonged periods for refusing to apply for IDF draft exemptions.
Thousands of Jerusalem Faction members lined the streets and also stood in the middle of Route 1 as a group of limousines believed to be carrying some of the 63 students entered the city. The “celebration” caused a major traffic jam on the highway, the main road between the capital and the coast, with commuters visibly frustrated about the congestion and the blockage.
Protesters surrounded several of the limousines, causing them to halt while the haredim sang and danced around them. Several were seen shaking hands through the limousines’ windows with the “honorees.”
The Bridge of Strings was packed with onlookers who came out to watch the motorcade pass.
According to Yeshiva World News, 12 limousines were hired to carry “the stars of the event,” the students who were imprisoned for following the instructions of their late leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, “for not registering with draft offices around the country as the law demands.”
The motorcade entered Jerusalem via Route 1, under the Chords Bridge, and was to end on Bar-Ilan Street where a major “celebration” was to take place with thousands expected to greet it with song and dance.