Hundreds of haredim from Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach’s non-hasidic haredi rebel fraction filled Jerusalem’s Shabbat Square late this afternoon to protest the military draft of haredi yeshiva students and against even voluntary enlistment in the IDF – despite the fact that Israel is in the middle of a shooting war with Hamas and other Islamic terror groups. During the protest, haredim set garbage dumpsters on fire, blocked roads and rioted.
Above: file photo
Haredim Riot In Jerusalem Against Draft, IDF – Despite Gaza Shooting War
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Hundreds of haredim from Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach’s non-hasidic haredi rebel fraction filled Jerusalem’s Shabbat Square late this afternoon to protest the military draft of haredi yeshiva students and against even voluntary enlistment in the IDF – despite the fact that Israel is in the middle of a shooting war with Hamas and other Islamic terror groups.
According to Israel HaYom, haredi protesters carried anti-draft signs and shouted slogans against joining the IDF. And during the entire protest, haredim from the protest also rioted, setting garbage dumpsters on fire and using them to barricade and block roads in the city.
The haredim were not protesting because they are pacifists (they are not) and in fact are often very right wing politically.
Instead, they were protesting because one 20-year-old haredi yeshiva student followed his rabbis’ instructions and failed to answer his draft notice. The student could have answered the draft notice by going to an IDF induction center and asking for a draft exemption. With proof of his yeshiva studies, that exemption would have been automatically granted – a fact his rabbis certainly knew.
But Auerbach has ordered his followers not to acknowledge the draft notices at all, even though all of his students would automatically be granted exemptions.
The so-called mainline non-hasidic haredi faction led by Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman and many of the hasidic groups that are part of Agudath Israel tell their students to answer the draft notices, refuse to sign any forms while at the induction center, insist that they are yeshiva students who only study Torah, and demand exemptions.
All major haredi rabbis from all factions vehemently oppose any draft of haredim, and some have even threatened to launch a civil war if haredi yeshiva students are ever drafted.
The particular haredi yeshiva student from Auerbach’s faction at the center of today’s protest, Eliyahu Cohen, has been arrested for draft dodging three times.
The first, in spring close to Passover, ended prematurely when haredim rioted across the country in protest and haredi politicians convinced to let Cohen out of IDF prison in time for the holiday.
Then last month, Cohen was arrested for the second time. He had still failed to report to an induction center and ask for a draft exemption. He served 20 days in an IDF prison and was released but ordered to report and go through the formal process of either being inducted or getting an exemption – which the IDF was still willing to grant him.
Cohen got out of military prison and then refused to report for the third time. He was rearrested last week and is awaiting trial in a military court.