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Ultra-Orthodox Riot Over Israel Draft Crackdown

Ultra-Orthodox demonstrators protesting the arrest of a prospective army conscript from their community clashed with police in Jerusalem on Sunday and eight men were detained, police said.

Police used a water canon and mounted officers dispersed the protest that briefly turned violent near Jerusalem’s military recruiting office which lies on the edge of one of the city’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.

Although most ultra-Orthodox seminary students gain exemption from military service on religious grounds, they must obtain their exemption through a conscription procedure. Police said the protest was prompted by the man’s arrest after he refused to turn up for recruitment.

Last week Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that parts of the conscription law that exempt seminary students were unconstitutional and gave the government a year to resolve the matter.

Most Jewish Israelis, men and women, are called up for military service when they turn 18.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said protesters blocked streets and threw stones at police officers. Video footage showed officers kicking, punching and pushing some demonstrators and a few were dragged across a street.

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