Main | Monday, March 10, 2014

NEW YORK CITY: 50,000 Ultra-Orthodox Jews March In Protest Of Israeli Draft

The Times Of Israel reports:
The widespread opposition to the draft poses a challenge to the country, which is grappling with a cultural war over the place of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli society. The issue of army service is at the core of that struggle. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, the ultra-Orthodox, who make up about 8 percent of Israel’s 8 million citizens, largely have been allowed to avoid military service, compulsory for most Jewish men, to pursue their religious studies. Older men often don’t work and collect welfare stipends while continuing to study full time. The ultra-Orthodox insist their young men serve the nation through prayer and study, thus preserving Jewish learning and heritage, and by maintaining a pious way of life that has kept Jewish culture alive through centuries of persecution. But the exemption has enraged secular Israelis who say the ultra-Orthodox are not doing their fair share.

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