In New York, 20,000 Orthodox protest against draft

New York City (Photo: Erik Daniel Drost)

New York City (Photo: Erik Daniel Drost)

Thousands of Charedim gathered in New York yesterday to protest against the Israeli government’s moves to force the Orthodox to join the army.

The New York City police reported that 20,000 Charedim filled Foley Square in lower Manhattan holding banners which read “freedom of religion” and “Orthodox Jews will proudly go to jail rather than join the Zionist army.”

A sea of black hats listened to speeches in English and Yiddish whilst some supporters locked themselves inside cages pretending to study Torah through the bars.

The Rabbinical Council of America condemned the "anti-Israel rally".

The Charedi protest was organised in response to last month's decision by an Israeli ministerial committee to advance a bill that would force Orthodox Israelis to enlist in the IDF or face penalties that include jail terms.

Last updated: 4:10pm, June 10 2013