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File photo: Haredi protest in Bnei Brak
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Haredi draft dodgers say they've been abused in military prison
Four ultra-Orthodox men from the Jerusalem Faction who were jailed for army desertion complain they were put in solitary confinement after refusing to wear uniforms in prison, made to stand for 50 minutes straight, sit for 10 minutes, and stand up again.

Four Haredi army deserters from the radical Jerusalem Faction have complained of mistreatment they suffered at military jail after being detained in recent violent protests against the IDF draft in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.

 

 

One of the draft dodgers, who was sent to Prison 6, said he had been made to stand for 50 minutes inside his jail cell—either at attention or at ease—following which he was allowed to sit for 10 minutes and then made to stand again. This, he said, went on for four hours.

 

"At the end of Shabbat we were told me 'you're doing 50-10,' and it lasted for four hours straight," the draft dodger said upon his release.

 

File photo from a recent Haredi protest in Jerusalem (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
File photo from a recent Haredi protest in Jerusalem (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

 

"Yesterday (Sunday) morning, they did it to us again three times in a row. It was part of a move meant to break us and educate us," he added.

 

One of the draft dodgers' parents filed a complaint with the IDF Soldiers' Complaints Commissioner and was told the matter will be addressed.

 

Unlike the other detainees at the military prison, the four draft dodgers refused to wear uniforms and were consequently sent to solitary confinement.

 

They claimed the fact they defied military discipline at the prison led commanders to abuse them.

 

"It's unpleasant when you're in a cell, and you're made to stand for hours for no reason," said one of the draft dodgers.

 

"All men may have been born equal, but when they grow up and grow a beard and payot (sidelocks), they are transformed from 'humans' to 'Haredi,' and it is allowed to hate Haredim, see them as leeches and parasites, and trample over their worldviews, their freedom of expression, their bodies and their liberty," said Menachem Stauber, a lawyer representing the four draft dodgers.

 

"Unfortunately, public discourse is steeped in hatred towards Haredim, and this discourse has seeped into the military authorities, which made the decision to abuse these Haredi detainees because of their worldviews. For being different. For being men of faith," Stauber continued.

 

The IDF Spokesman's Office said in response that "Recently, several Haredi draft dodgers were arrested and received the optimal treatment to their unique needs. The four detainees refused to wear uniforms and cooperate with the staff. They were therefore separated from the rest of the detainees and supervised closely."

 

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