At least 28 protesters were arrested in Bnei Brak on Thursday, March 22, 2018 as members of the ultra-Orthodox community took to the streets once again to demonstrate against IDF forced conscription and to display support for an imprisoned draft-dodger. The student was arrested several weeks ago and detained by military police for refusing to register with the IDF.
On Wednesday, his detention was extended from 20 days to 45 days, which led to the fresh protests on Thursday.
Police attacked protestors with water cannons and brutal beatings, resulting in dozens wounded and at least seven protestors seriously injured and hospitalized. Some suffered broken bones. One 45-year-old man broke a vertebra of his spine, a 28-year-old needed surgery on three broken shoulder bones, and a 15-year-old boy needed 21 stitches on his head.
The non-violent protestors called the police officers “Nazis” and vowed not to enlist in the “army of destruction.”
The protest’s organizers issued a statement promising that its resolve would not be diminished.
“Any attempt to break our spirit will never succeed against tens of thousands of heroes at home and abroad who will stand opposed and will cry out against the forced draft into the army,” the statement said. “The judge, before the sentencing, explained that the punishment was intensified by the fact that refusal to report to the recruitment offices harms the integration of the ultra-Orthodox into the IDF. This is exactly our point. We will prove to anyone who needs proof that we will continue with full force to prevent this terrible integration, as taught by the great Jewish sages throughout the generations.”
Later on in the evening, a group of religious Jews made their way to the police prison in Ramat Gan where the detainees were held, where they continued protesting. At this location, since members of the press were not present, the police used even more brutal force and violent tactics. When individuals attempted to document what was happening, the police confiscated their cameras.
Click here to read more information about the reasons behind the recent protests in the Holy Land. The Recent Protests in the Holy Land: An Overview