Ultra-Orthodox jews protest Israeli military draft

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews have blocked main roads in Jerusalem to protest the arrest of a community member for refusing to register for the country’s military service.

Demonstrators brought rush hour traffic to a standstill on Wednesday evening, singing and chanting: “We will die and not be drafted.”

Israel has compulsory military service for most Jewish men. But politically powerful ultra-Orthodox parties have secured exemptions for their followers, and attempts to legislate a new draft law have repeatedly faltered.

The exemptions have bred resentment among members of Israel’s secular majority.

Police and protesters wrangled in the streets and police said 24 protesters were arrested.

A female pedestrian screamed at the crowds of protesters, calling their disturbance “intolerable.”

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