Thousands of ultra-Orthodox men, women and children attended an early Monday morning prayer and protest rally against the enlistment of yeshiva students organized by the Eda Haredit in Jerusalem.
The protest was held in the backdrop of the discussions of a committee tasked with finding alternatives to the Tal Law and regulating haredim's military service. The organizers predict that the Plesner Committee will recommend the enlistment of haredim to the IDF or national civil service.
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The protesters gathered in Jerusalem's Shabbat Square at around 5 am. Some of them wore rags as a sign of mourning. They read Psalms excerpts and various lamentations.
Rabbis lead prayer rally (Photo: Shmuel Ben Yishai, 24 News)
Eda Haredit leader Rabbi Tuvia Weiss said at the rally, "We will not allow yeshiva students to be taken to the army or police and will not be fazed by their seductions."
He said that forceful enlistment and designated service routes for haredim were part of the government's efforts to "destroy the Torah world."
Wearing rags to indicate mourning (Photo: Shmuel Ben Yishai, 24 News)
The protest was also attended by prominent rabbis of the mainstream ultra-Orthodox section who are not part of the Eda Haredit. Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach said that opposition to enlistment should be regarded a mitzvah that warrants self sacrifice.
No unusual incidents were recorded during the protest but it was followed by the pelting of two female journalists who covered the event. Police were not at the scene at the time.
On Saturday, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called on the committee not to "prevent Torah from whoever wants to make it his profession."
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