Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Jerusalem yesterday in a show of force over the arrest of members of the community for failing to show up to register for the draft, the Times of Israel website reports today (March 29, 2017).
Community leaders called for the mass gathering, setting up a stage for rabbis to speak and closing a main street in the ultra-Orthodox Geula neighborhood. Although ultra-Orthodox Jews studying at yeshiva schools are exempt from the draft in Israel, they are required to register for it at a recruitment office.
Police said that although the protest was unauthorized and illegal, they decided to contain the event and monitor it rather than risk violence by trying to break it up.
The event was organized by the supporters of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the leader of Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem, who have been protesting the draft for the past few weeks.