Protests in Israel 

This item appears on page 15 of the December 2017 issue.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in Israel staged multiple days of protests in mid-October, culminating in a protest of more than 2,000 men who blocked streets and light rail in Jerusalem on Oct. 19. More than 120 people were arrested in that protest. The men were protesting the arrest of two members of their community who had been taken into custody for not appearing at the Israeli Defense Forces draft office when requested. 

Service in the Israeli Defense Forces is mandatory for all citizens, starting at age 18. Members of the ultra-Orthodox communities each can get service waivers if they present a note from their yeshiva (religious school). However, they still must show up to the office when drafted. Many ultra-Orthodox groups believe they should not even be required to do that. 

Military-service waivers for ultra-Orthodox citizens is a controversial subject in Israel, with many Israelis outside of Orthodox communities wanting the practice to end.