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Anti-Draft Activists Demonstrate Against Knesset Member Uri Maklev

A large demonstration was held yesterday, July 25, 2017, outside of the residence of Uri Maklev, a so-called "religious" member of the Israeli Knesset from the UTJ party, on Mirski street, in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The purpose of the demonstration was to denounce Maklev for having taken part in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s final approval of the details of the Amended Draft Law.

The religious Jewish community has always been staunchly opposed to joining the Israeli army, following the fundamental principle of Jewish belief that Jews are in exile and are forbidden to have their own state or army, or to wage wars against any nation. This is in addition to their objection to the ongoing immoral behavior of the Israeli army.

Until 2014, Orthodox Jews could be exempted from army service if they studied in a yeshiva. In 2014, the Israeli government passed legislation ending this exemption. In 2015, the law was amended to take full effect in 2023, following two “adjustment periods” during which the army will gradually draft more and more religious Jews. The legislation just approved concerns the detailed rules for who can and cannot receive a draft exemption during the adjustment period. For example, not all yeshivas are recognized, boys must comply with complex procedures in applying for their exemptions, and any boy found not keeping to a strict study schedule will be drafted.

The protesters recited verses of Psalms and chanted slogans describing Maklev as a traitor and one who causes others to sin.

A large police force came to disperse the demonstration, and a number of demonstrators were beaten.

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