Man detained during protest in Mea Shearim
Man detained during protest in Mea Shearim Israel news photo: Flash 90

The arrest of a hareidi youth who failed to report to a local recruitment station continued to spark violent protests Thursday.

The hareidi news outlet Kikar Hashabat identified the youth as 19-year-old Moshe Eleshvili, a student at Nahalat Asher yeshiva. He was sentenced to 14 days in prison this week.

A protest over the arrest was held Wednesday outside the prison. On Thursday, hundreds of hareidi men protested in Kikar Shabbat in the central neighborhood of Mea Shearim.

The protest was organized by the Eida Hareidit, under the heading, “Mi L’Hashem Elai,” meaning, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side, let him come to me.” The phrase is well-known as the statement the Biblical prophet Moses (Moshe) uttered following the sin of the golden calf, and is also associated with the Hannukah holiday.

Several of the protesters threw rocks at police officers at the site and set fire to trash cans. Police brought out water cannons to disperse the protest, and arrested two people for rioting. The Eida Hareidit reported that three people were injured during the clashes.

The hareidi-religious group has previously held mass rallies to protest the government’s plan to require full-time Torah students to enlist in the IDF.

Mother: He reported as required
The young man’s mother, Miri Eleshvili, told Kikar Hashabat that contrary to reports, her son had reported to the enlistment office.

The problem apparently arose due to a surgical procedure scheduled for the same day as Moshe’s most recent appointment at the office, she said. He stopped at the office briefly to explain the situation, then left. Several days later, he was arrested.

Her son does not want to enlist, she said. He was disturbed at the crude language he heard soldiers using during his meetings with army officers, she said. In any case, she added, he is a gifted Torah scholar, and wishes to continue his studies.

Photos by Aharon Wahav, Hadashot 24.