Members of the Yerushalmi faction met Thursday in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Jerusalem, to protest against their enlistment in the IDF and the arrest of haredi draft-dodgers by the police.
During the conference, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the leader of the "faction", lamented the response of leading rabbinic figures and leaders of the haredi community in Israel, who he accused of trying to silence his movement.
"We are in a terrible period of persecution of the Jews. There is such hiding of the divine presence, [it turns] brothers [against each other. When there no fear of God burning in their hearts, then a strange fire enters, in acts that should not be done, and there is no explanation for it," he said, crying. "All the great sages of Israel throughout the generations worked to elevate their generation, to strengthen the generation in their own way, and today we hear opinions as if we must not elevate, strengthen and demand."
Rabbi Asher Deutsch, one of the leaders of the Ponevezh Yeshiva affiliated with the Yerushalmi Faction, attacked the "coolness" which he said the haredi public feels about enlisting yeshiva students.
"If five years ago, when the enlistment began, it was clear that there was one argument - to stand up or not to stand up. Now our public is also seeing that recruitment is not so bad, and those who enlist are from the margins of the camp. They are already lost anyway.
"Maybe on the contrary - it's the lesser evil in order to keep the flame of the holy yeshivas, so you have to turn a blind eye to the large quotas that are raised every year," Rabbi Deutsch said.