Ultra-Orthodox protest campaign compares IDF draft to Holocaust

Posters show Haredi recruits walking into Auschwitz, claim IDF induction targets souls whereas Nazis went after bodies

Israeli police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jewish men during an anti-draft protest in Jerusalem on March 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jewish men during an anti-draft protest in Jerusalem on March 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A leaflet campaign against the recruitment of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israeli military compares army service to the Holocaust.

Flyers and posters bearing the title “Jews! the town is burning” were distributed in ultra-Orthodox synagogues, left in mail boxes, and posted on noticeboards in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, the Kikar Hashabbat website reported Wednesday. The report did not say which neighborhoods were targeted with the papers.

The posters showed a photo of Jews during the Holocaust emerging from the iconic railroad box cars outside a concentration camp with the title “toward the destruction of bodies” alongside an image of ultra-Orthodox Israel Defense Forces recruits bearing the title “toward the the destruction of the souls.”

Another doctored image showed rows of ultra-Orthodox soldiers marching through what appeared to be the entrance of the Auschwitz death camp.

“What is the difference between the terrible Holocaust that occurred on European land and the terrible Holocaust that is happening in recent current years in the Holy Land?” the posters asked.

“The Holocaust of those days was in the European lands and today it is in the Holy Land, the Holocaust in those days was by the wicked gentiles when the Jewish people stood by crying over their bitter fate and did everything in their power to be saved — and the Holocaust today is with the cooperation and agreement of people with the appearance of being ultra-Orthodox,” it continued

Recent months have seen an uptick in sometimes violent action by extremist elements in the ultra-Orthodox community that vehemently oppose the mandatory army service.

Action against the draft have included mass protests by thousands of demonstrators in Jerusalem, Bnei Barak, and Beit Shemesh, cities that have large ultra-Orthodox communities. The arrest of draft-dodgers have also been met with large protests.

Ultra-Orthodox, who for decades enjoyed an exemption from army service, oppose what they say is the IDF’s lax observance of Jewish laws. Recent attempts to cater to ultra-Orthodox recruits have been met with some success, but many ultra-Orthodox soldiers still face harassment, threats, and assault while on leave in Haredi neighborhoods.

Some segments of ultra-Orthodox society refuse to recognize the State of Israel and oppose Zionism, because of their belief that the establishment of a Jewish state should only come after the arrival of the messiah.

Last month a fake bomb was sent to the IDF officer in charge of ultra-Orthodox conscription.

The attacks have drawn denunciation from military officials, the police and politicians.

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