New York Thousands of Orthodox Jews protested Israel’s campaign to force Orthodox Jewish girls into military services, culminating in this week’s brutal arrest of three girls for refusing enlistment orders. The protesters expressed solidarity with their brethren in Jerusalem who were demonstrating for days after the arrests.
The protesters were decrying Israeli Police’s brutal crackdown and arrests of protesters, and IDF’s tactics that entangle and entrap Orthodox Jewish girls into military service.
Israel is one of roughly a handful of countries to draft women into military service. For all these years, the Israeli government understood the opposition of Orthodox Jews to serve in the military because it is a grave violation of their religion. During recent years, the government started a campaign to coerce Orthodox Jews into military services, and in the past year, it went from bad to worse, with the government’s forcing girls from vulnerable backgrounds to join the military.
This campaign is part of an effort by the Israeli authorities to force Orthodox Jews to assimilate in the larger society. That initiative includes the imposition of annual quotas of Orthodox Jews to enlist in the army, sanctions against the community if those quotas aren’t reached, and curtailments of the exemptions that were granted since the inception of the State of Israel for Yeshiva students from conscription.
At the beginning of this week, three 22-27-year-old Orthodox girls were arrested and kept imprisoned for non-enlistment in the military. Their arrest triggered days of mass demonstrations in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities. In an effort to further destroy the spirit of Orthodox Jewry, the Israeli Police unleashed a brutal response that included the vicious beatings and the arrests of tens of peaceful demonstrators.
The mass demonstration was organized by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada and took place on Wednesday, 5:45 PM, at the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan, located at Second Avenue and 42nd Street.
“Israel is the only country imprisoning Orthodox Jewish girls for practicing their religion. It’s a shame that we have to turn out in New York to call for a sanctuary for Jewish girls in Israel, but this is sadly a reality. The brutalities must stop,” said Rabbi Isaac Green, a CRC spokesman.