Roughly one thousand protesters gathered in Jerusalem Sunday to protest the arrest of a haredi draft dodger who had refused to appear at an army induction office.

The demonstration, organized by the Yerushalmi Faction, began Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Sarei Yisrael and Yafo streets in the capital, near the central bus station to protest the arrest of Daniel Mehadni, the son of a prominent Ethiopian-Israeli rabbi.

Mehadni, a yeshiva student, had refused to appear at an army induction center to request a draft deferment.

While the IDF offers draft deferments to most full-time yeshiva students, the Yerushalmi Faction has demanded that all haredim be granted a blanket draft exemption, similar to the kind enjoyed by Orthodox women, Druze women, and most of Israel’s Muslim-Arab population. The Yerushalmi Faction has called on supporters not to cooperate with draft authorities for any purpose whatsoever, including for draft exemptions.

Following Mehadni’s arrest, supporters of the Yerushalmi Faction demonstrated in central Jerusalem, blocking roads near the entrance to the city, as well as the light rail train.

Police used crowd dispersal methods to break up the demonstration, and arrested dozens of protesters who blocked roads.

So far, 38 arrests have been reported.

Rabbi Nadav Mehadni slammed police for his son’s arrest, denying that his son had received a draft order.

“My son didn’t get any order,” Rabbi Mehadni told Kol Barama. “He has spent his whole life in yeshiva, and all of the sudden, police came in the night and took him away. If he had gotten a draft order, he might have appeared [in the induction office] and gotten an exemption, like everyone else.”

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