Some 500 Haredim associated with the radical Jerusalem Faction are protesting the military arrest of a Yeshiva student, Monday afternoon in Bnei Brak. The student was arrested for his refusal to show up for his scheduled draft or deferment request.
The protesters held signs accusing the state of persecuting the religious populace, “destroying souls,” and “we will rather die than enlist.” At least 19 arrests were made.
The leaders of the Jerusalem Faction instructed their followers to continue the legacy of their founder and spiritual leader the late Rabbi Shmuel Orbach, who passed away in February. Their policy is to “shake the foundations of the world” over each arrest of a Yeshiva student who refuses to show up at the IDF’s recruitment center and is sent to military prison.
Police responded in large numbers and have closed several main roads in the vicinity of the protest. The primary thoroughfare affected is Jabotinsky Road running from east-west and connecting Tel Aviv to Petah Tikva. Police are hoping to prevent the closing of Highway 4, as has happened in previous protests.
“The Israel Police will not prevent this protest from taking place so as to allow the freedom of speech and protest to all citizens. That said, we will not allow any public disturbance and we will respond firmly to any violence,” said a statement by the police.
The “Committee to Save the Torah World” which organized the protest, on behalf of Nissan Rada who was arrested for refusing to show up at the IDF draft office, issued a statement: “The Haredi public will not cooperate with the apostasy and destruction aimed at the Torah world. Yeshiva students will continue not showing up to the draft office until the previous state of affairs, namely the blanket exemption of all Yeshiva students, is restored.”