Haredim in Israel demonstrate against arrest of draft dodger

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Haredi Orthodox demonstrators gathered throughout Israel to protest the arrest of a yeshiva student for failing to respond to a draft notice.

Demonstrators gathered Wednesday evening in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Ashdod in support of the student, who studies at a yeshiva in Ashdod, in southern Israel. The student was arrested on Sunday after ignoring a draft notice and not appearing in person at a military draft office as required.

About 1,000 haredim protested on a street in Bnei Brak, stopping traffic. In Jerusalem, hundreds of protesters forced the brief closure of a bridge. Hundreds more blocked the southern entrance to Ashdod.

The protest comes two weeks after hundreds of thousands of haredim protested in Jerusalem against a conscription bill enacted last week that would require haredi Orthodox Jews to serve in the military.

The student’s failure to show up for his draft notice was discovered when he was stopped by police for being drunk on Purim, according to reports.

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