Haredi soldier in Jerusalem
Haredi soldier in JerusalemFLASH90

A pair of haredi men were arrested for draft dodging after police pulled them over for driving dangerously, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

Police had ordered the men to pull over after noticing them weaving in and out of traffic near the Dead Sea. After checking their licenses, police found that the two were wanted for draft dodging, as both had refused to report to the IDF recruitment center to receive their deferments. Police arrested them immediately and handed them over to the military police.

As both men are associated with the radical Yerushalmi Faction, some fear that the arrests will set off a new wave of anti-IDF demonstrations. The once-common violent protests by the Yerushalmi Faction have dwindled to a near halt in recent months, which some ascribe to quiet understandings reached between the IDF and the Yerushalmi Faction.

Last week Colonel Yossi Matzliach, the IDF officer in charge of haredi enlistment, refused to rule out the possibility that the IDF was negotiating with the Jerusalem Faction in an interview with the haredi online website Behadrei Haredim, cryptically responding "do you want me to out them?" when asked if such an agreement existed.

The Yerushalmi Faction, which is connected with Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has been locked in a power struggle with the mainstream haredi community ever since the death of Torah Sage Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv in 2012.

The Yerushalmi Faction considered Bnei Brak-based Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman to be an illegitimate leader, and revolted against his authority, splitting the hierarchical haredi world.

One of the main points of contention between the Yerushalmi Faction and Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman is the attitude towards the IDF. While Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman is considered relatively moderate on the issue, reportedly quietly backing the formation of Nahal Haredi, Rabbi Auerbach instructs his followers not to even report to the draft office to receive a deferment.

In early October, the government decided to yank all taxpayer-funded advertising from the Jerusalem Faction's Hapeles newspaper in response to a wave of anti-IDF incitement.