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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews pray outside J’lem police HQ

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men held a prayer gathering outside police headquarters in Jerusalem Friday night. 

The men were protesting the continued incarceration of two of their community members who were indicted for assaulting police officers called to the scene of a mob attack on a Haredi soldier in Mea Shearim on Tuesday.

If convicted, the two men, Joseph Braun and Jacob Krischavski, could face at least three years in prison.

No violent incidents were recorded during the prayer session.

The attack came days after the Knesset gave initial approval for a proposal to draft Haredi men into the Israeli Defense Forces. 

A small number of Haredi leaders have allowed and in some cases encouraged enlistment, but the majority have resisted the draft. The proposed law has sparked numerous protests.

Another Haredi soldier was assaulted in Jerusalem on Thursday, this time in the neighborhood of Shmuel Hanavi, situated north of Mea Shearim. Assailants threw objects at the soldier from a van.

On Tuesday, officers were called to Mea Shearim after dozens of Haredi men intimidated a Haredi soldier. The men gathered outside the office of the uncle of the soldier, who came to visit his relative during a short leave from the army, according to the indictment filed on Thursday by the Jerusalem prosecutor’s office with the city’s Magistrate’s Court.

The soldier, who does not live in Jerusalem, was wearing a uniform and a black kipah. Several dozen men gathered around him and hurled garbage as he was walking to the office. 

He entered the office, changed to civilian clothes and called police as the crowd chanted insults outside.

The two defendants and several other individuals hurled stones, metal bars and water buckets at the police. 

Braun and Krischavski, both in their early 20s, were charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, obstructing a police officer and rioting.

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