Thursday saw the third straight day of large-scale protests by members of the radical anti-draft 'Yerushalmi Faction' movement, with demonstrators protesting against the recent arrest of two haredi youth for draft dodging.
Over 120 protesters were detained at the haredi anti-draft protests in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and Bnei Brak. Most of the arrests were in Jerusalem, where demonstrators blocked a number of roads and the light rail train route for several hours.
Avi Menkes organized the Jerusalem protest and vowed that the protests would continue, promising that the Yerushalmi Faction will not be deterred by mass arrests.
"To us, they aren't draft dodgers - they are heroes," Menkes told Arutz Sheva. "Unfortunately, police feel free to be violent against us when they did nothing to the workers of Haifa Chemicals, the Israeli Broadcast Authority employees and the disabled, all of whom blocked roads. At our first demonstration, over forty people were arrested."
Menkes was referring to the ongoing road blocking campaign by disabled Israelis in recent weeks as part of their campaign to raise the monthly stipends they receive from the National Insurence Institute from NIS 2,342 to the minimum wage of NIS 5,000.
Menkes maintained that blocking roads is a legitimate act of protest, "just as during the evacuation of Gush Katif, people blocked roads, we also block roads to shock the State of Israel, and we don't care that the haredi politicians don't support us".
"We oppose any compromise," said Menkes. "We do not do anything without being instructed to by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach."
Menkes described the condition of the detainees. "They are going through a difficulty experience, including having their fingerprints taken and trips to court, and then being sent to military prison. However, they are strong and we have skilled lawyers that bring them everything they need" he said.