Thousands of orthodox Jews have gathered in lower Manhattan this afternoon for a mass prayer to protest proposed draft laws in Israel. Previously, the ultra-Orthodox had been exempt from serving in the Israeli military (it's mandatory for every other Israeli Jew). The government proposed a new law last month that would require a certain number of yeshiva students to be drafted. As Vice explains, "[The ultra-Orthodox] see compulsory military service as a form of religious persecution, denying them the right to practice and pulling them toward a more secular lifestyle." Check out photos from the protest in Manhattan below.
— NY Scanner (@NYScanner) March 9, 2014
A large gathering of Orthodox Jews outside my house. pic.twitter.com/pEkS6RNZ7B
— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) March 9, 2014
Every single Hasidic Jew in New York just arrived in the financial district
— Katrina Portagallo (@TrinaaGrace) March 9, 2014
— Casey Whalen (@callmefaithh) March 9, 2014
— meltemarikan (@arikan_meltem) March 9, 2014
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) March 9, 2014
— BA (@BryanAhrens) March 9, 2014
You can watch a live stream of the protest below:
There have been lots of intense protests happening in Israel recently over the proposed change in the draft law. The debate has become so heated, some Satmar religious leaders have declared a "jihad against the Israeli government."