Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A haredi (ultra-Orthodox) woman who was arrested recently by the IDF military police for desertion was released from prison on Tuesday and her indictment quashed.
The arrest, along with that of four other women, has generated severe riots over the last three days by haredi extremists from the Eda Haredit community at major roads and junctions in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.
Several policemen have been injured during the protests, leading to arrests.
Public notices were posted in radical haredi neighborhoods about five women who had been arrested for desertion, although it was later discovered that only one of the five was actually haredi.
On Monday night, several hundred haredi extremists conducted a riot at the Kikar HaShabbat junction between Mea She’arim and Geula in Jerusalem.
Rioters threw stones and other objects at policemen, blocked traffic, set trash cans and dumpsters on fire and dragged them into the street.
Three protesters were arrested Monday night, including a minor, while three policemen suffered light injuries and were treated at the scene.
Municipal workers were brought in to remove the dumpsters and clean the streets after the riot.
Several dozen rioters continued to cause disturbances on Tuesday and again dragged dumpsters into the streets to block the roads.
Several major thoroughfares in the city were closed to traffic because of the demonstrations.
The IDF stated in response to the riots that religious women are exempted from the army on the basis of a signed declaration, which needs to be submitted within a certain period of time by the woman in question in order to state that she is religious and does not want to perform military service for that reason.
According to the IDF, the haredi woman who was released on Tuesday did not submit this declaration and was therefore determined to be a deserter, as are all other women who do not follow this procedure.
The IDF also said that the woman in question had never said she was haredi.