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Ultra-Orthodox Jews continue protests against military conscription

March 30, 2017 at 9:36 am

Ultra Orthodox Jewish people stage a protest against compulsory military service in Jerusalem on 28 March 2017 [Gil Cohen Magen/Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews continued their protest against military conscription on Tuesday, believe this a “deviation” from their religious duties, Quds Press reported.

Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets in a massive protest that went around the streets of Jerusalem. They chanted “military conscription a disaster for Torah Jews”, “Israel persecutes Jews” and “military conscription is a holocaust.”

The protest, Quds Press said, came as part of a wave of unrest against the detention of Jews who reject military service.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews consider military conscription a window for “deviation” because it prioritises armed service over attending prayers and religious lessons.

Military conscription in Israel is 32 months for men and 24 months for women. Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up approximately 10 per cent of Israeli society.

Expert in the Israeli issues, Ayman Al-Rafati, told Quds Press that the Ultra-Orthodox Jews “consider the military conscription forbidden in Judaism because the priority is to learn the Torah, not military service.”

The head of the Regional Study Centre in Palestine said: “Since 1948, Israel agreed with religious leaders that Ultra-Orthodox Jews would be exempt from military conscription on condition that they spend their life studying the religion with governmental funding.”

“Recently, their number increased and it has become too expensive for the state to continue funding them. It is now pushed to include them in the military.”