Hundreds of haredi draft opponents demonstrate across Israel

31 arrested as demonstrators protest jailing of draft-dodger yeshiva student.

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Ido Ben Porat,

Demonstrators in Jerusalem
Demonstrators in Jerusalem
Flash90

Hundreds of haredi draft opponents gathered Thursday afternoon at sites across Israel to protest the recent arrest of a yeshiva student who refuses to enlist, despite having received draft orders.

The protests were coordinated by members of the ‘Yerushalmi Faction’, a non-Hasidic movement led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach that is staunchly opposed to haredi enlistment in the IDF.

Protesters blocked the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway at the Latrun Junction near Modiin, shutting down traffic towards the capital.

Traffic was also blocked at the Bar Ilan intersection in Jerusalem and on Rabbi Akiva Street in Bnei Brak. Demonstrators also shut down Nahar Hayarden Street in Beit Shemesh.

Police clashed with demonstrators, arresting 9 in Beit Shemesh, and 22 in Jerusalem.

A recorded message distributed Thursday morning urged supporters of the Yerushalmi Faction to join the protests.

“An outrage has been committed in Israel! The entire Diaspora is on fire! Because of the utter shamelessness of the army authorities in continuing to hold this great hero [the yeshiva student] behind bars, and in keeping with the clear and determined orders of our rabbi [Shmuel Auerbach], we will all go out to defend with our bodies to ensure that the remnant of Yaakov will not be lost.”