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Orthodox Jews Hold Massive Demonstration in Front of Israeli Army Recruiting Office

May 21, 2013

Last Thursday night, May 16, 2013, after the close of the Shavuos holiday, more than 40,000 Jews gathered in protest in front of the Israeli army's recruiting office in Jerusalem. They came to express their outcry against the government's current plan to draft Orthodox Jews, which threatens the future of the Orthodox community in the Holy Land.

The demonstration was called together by the Eidah Chareidis Rabbinical court of Jerusalem, as well as Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik and Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach.

In support of our brethren in the Holy Land, True Torah Jews released the following:

American Jews Express Solidarity with Co-religionists Resisting Israeli Draft Laws

Orthodox Jews in New York are rallying in support of their counterparts in Jerusalem, who are currently facing the prospect of conscription into the Israeli army.

“The Orthodox community in the Holy Land views the Israeli government’s plan to draft them as a direct attack on their freedom of religion,” said Yirmiyahu Cohen, a spokesman for True Torah Jews. “According to the Torah, G-d commanded the Jewish people in this era not to fight any wars against other nations. The current Israeli government plans to force the Orthodox to violate their conscience and principles. They should be exempt just like the Israeli Arabs, whom the Israelis do not expect to fight against their Arab brethren.

“Some argue that the Orthodox must share the burden because they too are being protected by the Israeli army. But the truth is that they were living there a hundred years before the Zionist movement even began. The Orthodox community lived peacefully alongside the Arabs in the 1800s. It was Zionism that gave rise to the current conflict, so they should not expect the Orthodox to help them deal with the problem they created.

“Furthermore, a large percentage of the Orthodox live in Jerusalem, which the international community, including the United States, has never recognized as part of the State of Israel. In 1947 the United Nations designated all of Jerusalem and its environs as an international zone. Thus the Israelis do not have the right to force Jews living in that zone to serve in their army.”

Historically, Orthodox young men have avoided serving in the Israeli army, often using their ongoing study in a religious academy, known as a yeshiva, as an excuse for exemption. But last year, after the Israeli supreme court struck down the law granting yeshiva students exemption, the Orthodox community was left without a legal means of avoiding service. The current government is preparing a plan to draft some or all of the Orthodox in the near future. Most in the Orthodox community would rather go to jail or emigrate from the country than be drafted. Ironically, the so-called "Jewish state" is becoming the most difficult place in the world for Jews to follow their traditional laws and beliefs.

“The Orthodox in the Holy Land have the Torah, international law and justice on their side,” Cohen concluded. “They will fight, and we will fight for them, until they prevail and are free to continue living according to their beliefs.”

True Torah Jews has also sponsored a radio ad, which will begin running on WABC New York on Sunday, May 26 at 7:15 PM and 8:48 PM.

Additionally it will run on Monday, May 27 at 6:33 PM and on Tuesday, May 28 at 6:59 PM.

Listen to the ad.