Ultra-Orthodox riot in Jerusalem against IDF draft
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Ultra-Orthodox riot in Jerusalem against IDF draft

Hundreds crowd into key square; five arrested as protesters throw bottles at police

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police during a protest following the arrest of a draft-dodger, Jerusalem, April 10, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police during a protest following the arrest of a draft-dodger, Jerusalem, April 10, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators clashed with police in Jerusalem on Thursday as they protested the arrest of a yeshiva student who failed to enlist for army service despite being called up.

Some 500 Haredi protesters hurled bottles at police and set garbage cans alight in the Kikar HaShabbat Square, which is in the center of a main thoroughfare in the Geula neighborhood and surrounding areas.

Police detained five people and used horses and water cannon to disperse the riot.

Ultra-Orthodox protesters have taken to the streets several times in the past year to express their objection to new laws requiring them to be drafted into national service. The potential recruit arrested in this case, however, was not affected by the new law; he had failed to register at the IDF enlistment office as required even to begin the process of gaining an exemption from service, military sources said.

At the beginning of March hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox gathered at the entrance to Jerusalem for a massive protest against the plans to introduce compulsory military service to the Haredi community.

The latest version of the draft bill has faced scathing criticism from ultra-Orthodox leaders over its inclusion of individual criminal sanctions against draft-dodgers that would kick in if the community as a whole failed to meet rising quotas for the draft. But it has also faced criticism from proponents of an equal draft for delaying such criminal sanctions until mid-2017, after the next election.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

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