Hareidim protest in Jerusalem
Hareidim protest in Jerusalem Avrami Tzemach, News 24

In the wake of Thursday’s protests against the arrest and jailing of a yeshiva student who refused to enlist in the IDF, one of the leaders of the hareidi struggle against the new draft law said on Friday that the protests will continue.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Tuvia Shulsinger condemned the arrest of the student, who was sentenced to 20 days in jail, for failing to show up to the military recruitment center after receiving his first summons to service.

The arrest of the student just days before the holiday of Pesach reminds one of dark times in history, Rabbi Shulsinger charged.

“Only in the Diaspora would Jews hide inside their homes before Pesach because they were afraid of being persecuted by Christians,” he said. “Today, too, a yeshiva student cannot go outside for fear that someone will come and nab him. There is no other country in the world where a yeshiva student, whose only wish is to study Torah, is placed behind bars just days before the Seder.”

Rabbi Shulsinger pointed out that military police have no authority to arrest yeshiva students who failed to show up to the recruiting center, saying, “They are still citizens, they never enlisted, a civilian judge must rule on the matter and not the military police.”

"There are thousands of students who did not show up,” he continued. “The rabbis’ ruling is not to cooperate with the army and not show up. It is abundantly clear that the state won’t be able to load hundreds of yeshiva students onto trucks and take them to jail.”

Rabbi Shulsinger estimated that the hareidi protests will continue.

“There is a religious war aimed at uprooting the Torah of Israel and we will fight back,” he declared.

The controversial draft law was passed by the Knesset in mid-March, despite warnings by pro-enlistment leaders that strong sanctions against hareidi draft evaders could create a backlash that would mean fewer hareidi men in the army, not more.

Meanwhile, according to statistics published on Friday, hareidi draft rates for March testify to a sharp decline.

Only 140 draftees enlisted to Nahal Hareidi (hareidi brigade) this March, marking a 30% drop from the previous enlistment.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)