Thousands call for universal service in Tel Aviv protest

Protesters set out from 'Camp Sucker' in call for more equal distribution of service burden, chanting "One people, one draft!"; former Shin Bet chief Diskin to give keynote speech, Mofaz expected to attend.

Draft protest 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Draft protest 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Thousands of people set out from 'Camp Sucker' at Tel Aviv's Arlozorov train station on Saturday night in a protest march calling for universal service for all Israelis.
Protesters chanted, "One people, one draft!", as they marched toward the Tel Aviv Museum compound where a rally with speeches was expected to take place.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, former IDF chief Dan Halutz and former deputy IDF chief Moshe Kaplinsky were among those present. Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin was expected to give the keynote speech at the event. Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz was also expected to attend the protest.
Portions of major Tel Aviv streets Namir Road and Begin Road were closed to traffic because of the march and were set to remain closed until 11:30 p.m.
At least a dozen different organizations are taking part in the protest, including the National Union of Israeli Students and several groups devoted to religious freedom and helping reservists and discharged soldiers. They will also be joined by the right-of-center extra-parliamentary group “Im Tirtzu.”
The keynote speaker at the event, announced Friday afternoon, will be former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Yuval Diskin, who has supported the movement since it first set up a faux military base at Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov train station nearly six months ago in a call for universal service for all Israelis.
Speaking Friday to Army Radio, Diskin  expressed optimism that the movement could achieve its goals. "At the end of the day, Netanyahu's voters are people who participate in carrying the public burden," he said in a challenge to the prime minister. "Netanyahu is cursing the day this issue fell at his doorstep. But in any case, this is happening under his watch, and I believe that he can implement real and meaningful change on this issue."
The protest is being headlined “Order 8 – We will stop being suckers!!” in a reference to the “Tzav 8” letters that arrive at homes to inform of upcoming reserve service.