TIME Israel

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Protest Israeli Draft Law

Hundreds of thousands flood Jerusalem streets to protest military conscription for ultra-religious

Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Jerusalem Sunday against a law that would require them to serve in the military and end a generations-long tradition of military exemption for the most religious Israelis.

The protests choked streets in Jerusalem with teeming masses of Haredim, a Hebrew term that means ‘those who tremble before God,’ wearing black hats and coats, the traditional Haredi garb, CBS reports.

The new law would suspend military exemptions for Orthodox Jewish seminary students, who are currently excused from serving in the Israeli army. The law, which has been in the works for months and would institute universal conscription at 18, would be implemented in four years time and could be overturned in the interim.

The debate on ultra-Orthodox service in the army is a heated one. Haredi claim it violates their religious right to study the holy scriptures, a foundation of Jewish life. But some Israelis say the Haredi, a rapidly growing demographic that represents 10% of the country’s population, need to share the burden of military service.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team