Ultra-Orthodox intermittently block a main thoroughfare in Bnei Brak
Dozens of demonstrators tried to block the intersection of Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion Roads between Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan; police detained several of them for interrogation. The leader of the radical Jerusalem faction, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, called for demonstrations against the arrest of the IDF deserters.
Several demonstrators were detained for questioning and four have been arrested thus far. Earlier, the Committee to Save the Torah World, which organizes the demonstrations of the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem faction against the IDF draft, called out to its followers to block the main thoroughfare.
Earlier Sunday, police arrested 30 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators who tried to block the Mesubim Junction on Route 4. The leader of the Lithuanian Jerusalem faction, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, called on his people to continue the fierce protests against the arrest of the deserters. The rabbi was quoted as saying: "We must fight to the last drop of blood."
In recent weeks there have been demonstrations by the extremist faction, which has blocked roads throughout the country. Dozens of activists were arrested after clashes with police officers.
Most of Rabbi Auerbach's struggle is with the draft law, even after its revised version was formulated at the initiative of the ultra-Orthodox parties and guided by their councils of sages and great Torah scholars.
According to him, setting quotas for army service among yeshiva students is the destruction of the world of Torah. For this reason, Auerbach instructed his followers to refrain from cooperating with the army, and completely ignore draft orders.
Many students who adhere to Auerbach are defined as deserters. In the eyes of the "faction," any arrest of such a young man is proof that the draft law is an ultra-Orthodox failure, the result of the compromising approach of the mainstream leadership.
It should be noted that in recent days a large-scale operation was carried out by the Military Police, in which 300 deserters and draft evaders were arrested. However, some of the detainees are ultra-Orthodox, including a man who visited Israel after 15 years of dodging the draft.
(Translated and edited N. Elias)