Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, leader of the Haredi Jerusalem Faction, passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday evening. Auerbach was well known for leading protests against Haredi service in the military.

Ultra-Orthodox community mourns Rabbi Auerbach

Ultra-Orthodox community mourns Rabbi Auerbach Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir/TPS

On Saturday night, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the leader of the Jerusalem Faction of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox sect, suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 86. Auerbach led the community in protests against Haredi men serving in the Israeli military.

The protests often led to violence and road blockage in Jerusalem. The funeral took place on Sunday morning in Jerusalem as thousands of people attended and wept for ultra-Orthodox community leader.

Last year, the High Court of Justice struck down a law exempting ultra-Orthodox men who partake in religious study instead of military service, stating that the law had damaged the principle of equality before the law. The decision allowed for Ultra-Orthodox men to be required to serve, which has long been controversial and will have serious political and social implications.

The High Court, however, has suspended the decision for a year in order to allow for amendments or to allow the government the option to pass the new law. The High Court’s decision was both criticized and welcomed by respective members of Knesset.