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Thousands Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews Demonstrate In Israel Against Army Conscription

11.04.2024 18:57

Ultra Orthodox Jews, or Haredi, make up roughly 13% of Israeli society.

Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrated in West Jerusalem on Thursday against plans for their army conscription.

Last month, Israel's Supreme Court ordered an end to government subsidies to schools for ultra-Orthodox men eligible for army enlistment. The court gave the government until June 30 to pass a new plan for their army enlistment.

"The Israeli authorities are persecuting Torah scholars" and "To prison and not to the army" read signs waved by protesters outside an army enlistment office in West Jerusalem as cited by The Times of Israel newspaper.

Most Jewish men in Israel are required to serve nearly three years in the military, followed by years of reserve duty. Jewish women serve two mandatory years.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Haredi, who make up roughly 13% of Israeli society, have traditionally received exemptions while studying full time in religious seminaries.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu includes parties supportive of Ultra-Orthodox Jews such as the Shas Party, which has 11 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (Israel's parliament), and United Torah Judaism Party (seven seats).

Israel's ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, now in its 188th day, has ignited a debate on the enlistment of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the military.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed some 1,200 people.

More than 33,500 Palestinians have since been killed and over 76,000 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in January issued an interim ruling that ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. -

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