Even after more than a month of fighting – which took the lives of 64 soldiers – haredi protesters took to streets across the country to rally against the drafting of yeshiva students to the military.
In Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and other cities, haredi men demonstrated in protest of a yeshiva student's arrest for ignoring a draft notice; in some towns, the demonstrations turned violent.
Some 200 youth protested on a street in Jerusalem, where they blocked an intersection and prevented buses from passing through. Shortly after, the protest turned violent as the youth clashed with security forces, calling police officers "Nazis."
Three demonstrators were arrested.
Haredi protest in Jerusalem (Photo: Eli Mendelbaum)
Mounted police forces used batons to check the protesters, as parts of the crowd attempted to set objects aflame on the road.
Large police forces are present at the scene. Binyamin, a yeshiva student who participated in the unauthorized protest, said that "this is what happens when they don't let us study – the point is that whoever wants to study will study. We are demonstrating because of the arrest and because of the legislation."
Haredi protest at Bar Ilan St. in Jerusalem (Photo: Eli Mendelbaum)
He emphasized: "A young man that wants to learn – will learn."
The yeshiva student said the protesters were not afraid of any consequences. "Everything that needs to be done so that a yeshiva man will not serve in the military will be done. We will fight this law with all our might and I say we will not give up."
During speeches given at the rallies, one of the speakers turned to the yeshiva students and promised them "no one will reach you, no one will say whether you enlist or not."
The speaker railed against the government: "You will choose who studies and who does not? The prime minister is not fit to shine the soles of the lowliest yeshiva student's shoes."
A large protest convened at the Coca Cola intersection in Bnei Brak, where dozens of haredim danced in circles without interrupting the flow of traffic.
Yair, a 24-year-old demonstrator, said: "We came to protest the arrest of a yeshiva student. They sent him to prison while he is defending the people of Israel with the power of the Torah. We will fight against the war the army and the state are conducting against students of the Torah."
He stressed that "studying Torah is a basic right. I am a Jew and it hurts. Our message is simple – 'we will die before we enlist.' We will not negotiate with them."