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WATCH: Hundreds of Thousands of Haredim Protest Draft, 70 Reported Injured

Hundreds of thousands of Haredim from differing communities and sects took part in a march and giant prayer service against the draft law. Due to the large influx of crowds over 70 individuals were injured according to some reports. A group of Haredim attacked secular protesters in favor of the law with tear gas.

Mar 02, 2014, 05:45PM | Maya Yarowsky
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The Haredi protest against the draft law has reached in new levels: over half a million Haredim came together today (Sunday) in Jerusalem in a huge march and prayer service against the draft law.

Over 4,500 police officers and security guards controlled the events of the protest, the road into Jerusalem has been temporary closed as well as number of major streets in the capital. Due to overcrowding, nearly 70 individuals were injured

Close to 15:30 (Israel Time), the protest experienced its first violent event, when a young man who was against the protest and for the draft law was attacked using pepper spray which was sprayed into his eyes. “I was holding a sign that said ‘Draft for Everyone’. I was near the market and hoped that someone would take a picture of the sign. Suddenly, the pepper spray was released directly into my eyes”, said Itai, the protester who was injured.

Photo Credit: Fire and Rescue Jerusalem

“The numbers show how much this hurts us”

Despite being called the ‘Million Man March’ earlier on, it now seems that the number of protesters did not reach anything close to a million. “The numbers are not meant to disappoint, the ‘million man march’ really means that it is march that occurs only once in a million”, said one of the protests’ organizers Yitzik Brenner.

Brenner stressed that some participants are still trying to reach Jerusalem, which is the best expression possible of the hurt that the Haredi community feels in light of the new law. “The large number of people on their way here proves in itself how much this hurts us. The Haredi public left their homes and Yeshivahs in order to express their frustration with the Jewish state’, continued Brenner.

The organizers of the protest separated the men from the women who wanted to take part in the march, placing them in a space where they were meant to show their support for the protest. “I bared the burden, I was in the army during Sharon’s time and by husband was a commander in a special unit. One of my brothers was killed while parachuting in the army”, said Tziona, a participant in the rallies. “But we said, ‘What is this sacrifice for?’ Why should we go to the army? If its a tree without roots, why do we need a tree like that. It is better that the roots will stick around for 2000 years rather than there be a tree”.

Meanwhile, with the protests at their height, Commander-in-Chief Benny Gantz spoke with soldiers in the Haredi Nahal unit stating, “I do not want to talk about politics, but I am proud of you all”.

Today at the protest.

Today at the protest. Photo Credit: Magen David Adom Spokesperson

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