Israel conscription rule stokes ultra-Orthodox fury

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Top Stories

2 hours agoBy Yolande Knell, BBC Middle East correspondent EPAWhen Israel’s ultra-Orthodox or Haredi Jewish community gathers in force you realise just how large it is.Thousands of men and boys dressed in black and white are crammed into the streets of Mea Shearim – which is the heart of the ultra-Orthodox community – in Jerusalem for an angry protest against the military draft.It is the latest demonstration since the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that young Haredi men must be conscripted into the Israeli military and are no longer eligible for significant government benefits.Young men who are full-time students in Jewish seminaries, or yeshivas, tell me that their religious lifestyle is in jeopardy. They believe that their prayers and spiritual learning is what protects Israel and the Jewish people.“For 2,000 years we’ve been persecuted, and we’ve survived because we’re learning Torah and now the Supreme Court wants to remove this from us, and it will cause our destruction,” says Joseph.“Going to the army will make a frum – religious Jew – not religious anymore.”“The draft does not help militarily. They don’t want us Haredim, us orthodox Jews, they don’t need us,” another student tells me, withholding his name as he does not have his rabbi’s permission to give an interview.“They’re just gonna give us some dirty job there. They’re there to make us not Orthodox no longer.” Anadolu via Getty ImagesFor decades, there has been controversy over the role of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli society. From a small minority, the community is now a million-strong, making up 12.9% of the population.Ultra-Orthodox parties have often acted as kingmakers in Israeli politics, giving support to successive governments headed by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in return for continuing the draft exemption and hundreds of millions of dollars for thei …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn2 hours agoBy Yolande Knell, BBC Middle East correspondent EPAWhen Israel’s ultra-Orthodox or Haredi Jewish community gathers in force you realise just how large it is.Thousands of men and boys dressed in black and white are crammed into the streets of Mea Shearim – which is the heart of the ultra-Orthodox community – in Jerusalem for an angry protest against the military draft.It is the latest demonstration since the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that young Haredi men must be conscripted into the Israeli military and are no longer eligible for significant government benefits.Young men who are full-time students in Jewish seminaries, or yeshivas, tell me that their religious lifestyle is in jeopardy. They believe that their prayers and spiritual learning is what protects Israel and the Jewish people.“For 2,000 years we’ve been persecuted, and we’ve survived because we’re learning Torah and now the Supreme Court wants to remove this from us, and it will cause our destruction,” says Joseph.“Going to the army will make a frum – religious Jew – not religious anymore.”“The draft does not help militarily. They don’t want us Haredim, us orthodox Jews, they don’t need us,” another student tells me, withholding his name as he does not have his rabbi’s permission to give an interview.“They’re just gonna give us some dirty job there. They’re there to make us not Orthodox no longer.” Anadolu via Getty ImagesFor decades, there has been controversy over the role of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli society. From a small minority, the community is now a million-strong, making up 12.9% of the population.Ultra-Orthodox parties have often acted as kingmakers in Israeli politics, giving support to successive governments headed by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in return for continuing the draft exemption and hundreds of millions of dollars for thei …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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