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Ultra-Orthodox soldier attacked in Jerusalem neighborhood

Haredi men yell slogans against the IDF and throw rocks at store front before police rescue soldier

Israeli police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jews during an operation to arrest the attackers of soldiers at the Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on June 4, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jews during an operation to arrest the attackers of soldiers at the Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on June 4, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An ultra-Orthodox IDF soldier was attacked by residents of the Beit Yisrael neighborhood in Jerusalem, and was only extracted from there after police were called to the scene.

According to the police, the soldier entered a store in the neighborhood, which is located north of the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood. A large crowd gathered by the store, yelling slogans against the soldier and against service in the IDF.

According to Israel Police, some of the men also threw rocks at the store.

When police officers arrived, the rioters were dispersed without incident and the soldier was extracted from the store unharmed.

In recent months there have been a series of incidents in which soldiers have been attacked in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, prompting police to send in undercover officers on occasion to draw out suspected assailants.

Many in the ultra-Orthodox community shun the mandatory military service that applies to most Israelis, and the community has historically enjoyed blanket exemptions in favor of religious seminary studies.

But some in the religious community refuse to even appear at the recruiting office to request such exemptions in protest against the state. Without getting an exemption, those Haredi men are legally considered draft dodgers and open to military detention.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men protest against the military draft in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood, December 22, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The arrest of ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers has raised tensions in the community and a series of large demonstrations in recent months against the induction of ultra-Orthodox people into the army saw some violent clashes between demonstrators and police.

The incident also comes after the High Court this week shot down Knesset legislation from 2015 that was meant to delay efforts to increase the rate at which ultra-Orthodox youth are drafted into the military.

The 2015 amendment to the Equal Service Law cancels a more aggressive 2014 law pushed by the centrist Yesh Atid party that sought to mandate more ultra-Orthodox youth to enter military service. The later amendment was passed under pressure from the Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, which rejoined the Likud-led coalition after the 2015 elections and demanded the change as a condition for joining.

The dramatic ruling on Tuesday set a one-year deadline to implement a different framework for handling the ultra-Orthodox draft.

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