June 27, 2019 – New York City
Over the past week, a storm of continuous protests have taken place in Israel and in the USA, in response to the recent escalation of the forced drafting of girls into the Israeli army.
According to Jewish religious law, Jews may not serve in the Israeli army. Judaism teaches that Jews must remain in exile until the coming of the messiah, pray for the well-being of their host countries and not rebel against any nation. Therefore the existence of the State of Israel and all wars it fights, are forbidden. For girls especially, the draft is seen as an effort to uproot the religious beliefs and lifestyle of the Jewish community.
Those who are drafted but refuse to serve, due to their religious beliefs, are treated brutally, imprisoned or subjected to other harsh penalties. Peaceful demonstrators, who protest publicly against the government’s policy, are being met with extreme force, dispersed by inhumane means, such as horse trampling, water cannons and stun grenades, causing bodily injuries to men, women and children.
On Sunday, June 16, 2019, the Israeli government arrested three women activists for providing legal advice to girls facing military draft. These volunteers were interrogated as to who was providing them the information and who was behind the anti-draft project. After fierce protests in the streets of Jerusalem, they were released, but banned from coming near the recruitment office for fifteen days. At a hearing, the judge banned their standing near the recruiting office for a further period of 90 days, though they have violated no law.
On Sunday evening, June 23, it was discovered that three Orthodox Jewish girls were being held at the Israeli military prison, in an attempt to recruit them by force in to the army. Two were held in solitary confinement.
On Monday, June 24, a wave of multiple protests began. The first took place at Kikar Hashabos in Jerusalem at noon, where the Israeli police treated the demonstration with utmost brutality; At least 12 were arrested. The demonstrations are expected to intensify. Community leaders announced that Jerusalem will not rest until these girls are released.
An additional protest took place that evening, where the police arrested 8 additional protesters.
A similar protest took place on that Monday in the city of Baish. During the protest, Israeli police harassed the protesters, among them an elderly disabled Jewish man, Yoav Schwartz. The police violently dragged him, thereby removing his prosthetic leg.
Protests intensified over the following few days in many cities throughout the Holy Land.
A large rally took place in New York City on June 21 in front of the Israeli consulate, where the local communities expressed their outrage on the situation.
Yesterday, Wednesday, June 26 a second mass rally took place at the Israeli consulate in NYC attended by thousands of participants.
Following is a partial list of links for coverage of recent events: