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Ultra-Orthodox leadership silent over violent demonstration

Much like the leaders of the ultra-Orthodox community, Israeli politicians and ministers are afraid to condemn the violent demonstrations against the summoning of ultra-Orthodox students to IDF induction centers.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters take part in a demonstration against members of their community serving in the Israeli army, in Jerusalem March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX333A1
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Fliers distributed throughout the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Beit Shemesh on March 24 called for people to pray for the death of Major Yaakov Rashi, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) ultra-Orthodox induction center. These threats against Rashi are part of a violent ultra-Orthodox struggle against the IDF, which broke out over the past few weeks after several rabbinical college students were arrested. The reason for their arrests was that they had violated an accepted procedure, agreed upon by the ultra-Orthodox seminars, and refused to show up at the IDF induction center upon receiving their first draft notice, so that they could request an exemption from military service. This got them listed as deserters.

The protests included violent demonstrations, the blocking of roads and physical attacks against ultra-Orthodox men serving in the IDF and their families. The struggle has intensified over the past few days, reaching its climax in a violent incident captured by a Channel 2 film crew, in which young ultra-Orthodox men and boys attacked a young secular woman, who got caught in the middle of a Jerusalem demonstration. Anyone who has seen the chilling footage cannot help but think that if the woman had not been extracted so quickly by border patrol officers at the site, the incident could have ended much worse than it did.

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