Thousands of Orthodox Jews Protest Israeli Military Draft Law During Netanyahu’s Attendance in Washington
Washington, NY – Thousands of Rabbis and members of the Orthodox Jewish demonstrated today (Wednesday) in front of the White house in Washington DC against Israel’s Military Draft Law, which results in the forced enlistment of many Orthodox Jews. The protestors also decried Israel’s brutal tactics to silence dissent and peaceful protests against the draft policy.
Rabbis of the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada – the Rabbinic umbrella association representing hundreds of Orthodox Jewish congregations with a combined membership of over 250,000 that organized the protest – decried Israel’s conscription policy, passed in 2014, which curtailed a 60 year old policy exempting all Yeshiva students from military service. Since then, many who refused to enlist were incarcerated for weeks and sometimes months under brutal conditions. Those who peacefully protest those policies are subject to harsh punishments as well.
For instance, a father of seven, Rabbi Binyumin Friedman was recently incarcerated for peacefully protesting the draft. He was denied bail and is now scheduled to remain detained until the completion of his trial, which can take many months.
“The Israeli Army is an irreligious entity, and it is impossible for Orthodox Jews to fully practice their religion while in the army. We cannot serve in the army; because, the Torah prohibits us to create a state before the coming of Messiah… because, the Torah prohibits us to wage war against any sovereign nation!” declared Rabbi Aaron Jacobs, the intergovernmental liaison for the CRC.
Forcing Orthodox Jews to serve in the army against their religious convictions violates Resolution 1989/59, passed by the UN Commission on Human Rights on March 8, 1988, Rabbi Jacobs said, The resolution; “Recognizes the right of everyone to have conscientious objections to military service as a legitimate exercise of the right of freedom of thought, conscience and religion as laid down in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
“Mr. Netanyahu, before preaching values and principles to others, think about what your government does to your own citizens, our Jewish brethren,” Jacobs demanded.
At the conclusion of the demonstration, the CRC expressed their resolute to continue protesting until Rabbi Friedman is released from prison and until when the current evil draft policy remains in place. The CRC is determined to continue and increase the campaign to awaken the international community to Israel’s suppression of the religious freedoms of its Orthodox Jewish citizens.