Haredim demonstrate against arrest of draft dodger

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Haredi Orthodox demonstrators gathered throughout Israel to protest the arrest of a yeshiva student for failure to respond to a draft notice.

The student, who studies at a yeshiva southern Israeli city of Ashdod, was arrested on Sunday after ignoring a draft notice and not appearing in person at a military draft office as required.

Demonstrators gathered Wednesday evening in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and Ashdod. About 1,000 haredim protested on a street in Bnei Brak, stopping traffic. In Jerusalem, the String Bridge was briefly closed due to hundreds of demonstrators. Hundreds of demonstrators also blocked the southern entrance to Ashdod.

The protest comes two weeks after hundreds of thousands of haredim protested in Jerusalem against a conscription bill passed last week into law, that would require haredi Orthodox Jews to serve in the military.

The student’s failure to show up for his draft notice was discovered when he was stopped by police for being drunk on Purim, according to reports.

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