Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest conscription bill near Tel Aviv

Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest conscription bill near Tel Aviv

6 protesters arrested by Israeli police, according to local media

By Said Amouri

JERUSALEM (AA) – Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrated in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv, on Sunday against a bill for their military conscription.

Police used water cannons and other means to control the protesting crowds, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.

Six protesters were arrested by the police for blocking roads, the daily said.

The protest was staged amid a hearing held by the High Court of Justice to discuss the conscription of Ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israeli army.

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.

Last month, an Israeli ministerial committee unanimously approved a draft law regarding Haredi conscription, paving the way for the bill to be presented to the Knesset for a vote.

Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip has ignited a debate on the enlistment of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the military.

Israel has launched a brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip following a Hamas attack last Oct. 7, killing more than 36,400 people, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and injuring over 82,600 others, according to local health authorities.

Nearly eight months into the Israeli onslaught, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid Israel's crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala

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