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Jerusalem Faction plans mass protest against IDF service
Two weeks after the passing of their leader, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, radically anti-conscription sect gears up to flood Jerusalem streets, 'cause a noise the world will hear' in bid to demonstrate undiminished resolve to continue struggle.
Member of the radical Jerusalem Faction of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox sect have announced their intention to return to the streets of Jerusalem on Thursday and stage protests against the IDF conscription law for the first time since their leader, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, passed away two weeks ago.



The sect’s followers intend to pour into the streets en mass in the afternoon in Jerusalem in a bid to demonstrate that their presence and strength has not diminished with the passing of their ardently anti-conscription 86-year-old chief.


The official reason offered by the zealots for the renewed demonstrations is the incidental arrest of a military draft dodger student from the prestigious Kol Torah yeshiva in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of the capital, who is also the grandson of a senior rabbi there, during a routine check carried out by a traffic policeman.


Protest staged by Jerusalem Faction (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Protest staged by Jerusalem Faction (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


The man was was handed over to the military police, sparking an outrage among the faction that is being pounced upon as a pretext to exhibit its continued determination to resist conscription.


The protest’s exact location has not yet been publicized but its intensity is expected to justify road closures.


Organizers of the protest said that members of Council of Torah Sages—a forum of rabbis who have stepped in to fill the faction’s vacant leadership after Rabbi Auerbach’s passing—instructed that the crowds “make a noise that the world will hear” due to the arrest of the yeshiva student.


They also decreed that “the obligation at the moment is imposed on every single person to go out and participate in the mass protests.”


Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


Member of the Committee for Saving the World of Torah—the group responsible for orchestrating the protests—claim that hundreds of students who, on the instructions of their religious masters, refused to show up at the IDF recruitment offices, intend to participate in the protest and disrupt public order until they are arrested, labelled as deserters and sent to prison.


“If that is what is needed in order to annul the recruitment decree, we will sit in military prison on the Passover seder as well,” the committee said.


“The Haredi public will continue the uncompromising struggle of our rabbis with full force against the recruitment decree, which has brought down and continues to bring down many fallen Torah scholars to the spiritual destruction of the army.”


At Rabbi Auerbach's funeral, Rabbi Tzvi Friedman, a prominent rabbi associated with the Jerusalem Faction, dedicated his eulogy to the public struggles waged by the former leader.


“We are in a war of destruction. No man should turn up (to the IDF recruitment office). Don’t be scared of the police. Go to prison happily. They can fill the prisons. It won’t help them. He single-handedly directed the struggle while facing ridicule from others,” Friedman told the rabbi's disciples.


"All the haters from all sides should not delude themselves into thinking that the battle is lost. It will continue with full rigor. All the chatter of the politicians is all nonsense. He was able to stand up to the drafting of men, but drafting women broke him,” he added.


First published: 03.07.18, 22:48
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