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Haredim demonstrate over arrest of draft-dodging yeshiva student

JERUSALEM (JTA) — About 500 haredi Orthodox men demonstrated in Jerusalem against the arrest of a yeshiva student who ignored a call-up notice for army service.

The protesters, who also took to the streets in the predominately haredi city of Bnei Brak, blocked intersections, set fire to trash bins, and threw rocks and bottles at police on Thursday night.

The protest came less than a month after a similar demonstration over the arrest of another yeshiva student who failed to enlist, despite being called up, and about a month after hundreds of thousands of haredim protested in Jerusalem against a new conscription law that would require haredi Orthodox Jews to serve in the military.

Under the law, haredi men would be criminally charged for evading the draft, but the penalties would not go into effect until 2017. In addition, draft orders for haredi men up to age 26 will not go into effect until up to a year after the law is implemented.

The Tal Law, which allowed haredi men to defer army service indefinitely, was invalidated by Israel’s Supreme Court in February 2012 and expired in August that year. Haredi yeshiva students since then have had their drafts deferred.

 

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