Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox men take to the streets over IDF enlistment

 

Clashes & arrests reported with Haredim holding protests in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak & other cities with haredi communities.

The demonstrations are being organized by radical haredim and are held in protest at gov’t move to withhold funds to yeshivas.

By Ynet reporters

 

Thousands of haredi men held protests throughout the country Thursday, following the arrest of a haredi draft-dodger and against the backdrop of a bill intended to enforce the enlistment of haredi youths into the IDF.

Twelve haredi men were arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace at one demonstration in Jerusalem.

Earlier Thursday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid decided to freeze all the funds intended for yeshivas in the wake of a High Court ruling that the State must stop funding yeshiva students who had not enlisted. Both the court ruling and Lapid’s wider move to freeze the funds have fueled an already disgruntled haredi community, angered by the current bid to force them to enlist.

Protests were held in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak – where both clashes with the police and arrests were reported – as well as in Ashdod, Beit Shemesh and Modi’in Illit.

The demonstrations were organized by the “Jerusalem faction” of the Lithuanian ultra-orthodox sect. The faction is known for its aggressive stance on haredi enlistment in comparison to the general haredi public. Anti-Zionist haredim are also participating in the Jerusalem protest.

“This is just cruel. (Lapid is) leaving us without money, even for those students who deserve it. Never before have funds been frozen after being already being approved by the Finance Ministry,” said a source within the community.

Lapid’s decision to freeze the funds in their entirety is more sweeping than the original court ruling, which applies only to yeshiva students aged 18 to 20 who were served with enlistment orders beginning in August 2013, but had not reported to the recruitment center, following Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon‘s decision to delay their draft.

The protest were being held hours after Ynet published the central points of a draft of the bill set to govern haredi enlistment. The bill will be voted upon in March, and is currently being worked on by a committee headed by Habyit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked.

According to the report, the bill sets enlistment quotas and details the process of enlistment for haredim into either the IDF or civilian service. It also offers incentives for yeshivas promoting enlistment and filling their quotas.

The sanctions for those failing to enlist were abcent from the bill’s draft. Shaked supports economic sanctions, while Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, who headed the Knesset committee that formulated the original version of the bill, is seeking criminal sanctions.

 

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View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4485598,00.html

 

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