13 Ultra-Orthodox Men Arrested Protesting Kiryat Gat Chief Rabbi

Police arrested 13 ultra-Orthodox men during a protest in front of the home of the Kiryat Gat chief rabbi on Monday. The demonstrators were protesting against the drafting of ultra-Orthodox community members into the IDF.

According to police, more than 40 protesters violated public order by shouting, rampaging and damaging property in front of Rabbi Moshe Havlin’s home.

Some of the protesters were seeking “to intimidate a public official,” according to police. “In these cases the Israeli police will work stiffly to bring justice those who choose to do so,” the Lachish District police said in a statement.

The suspects, residents of Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh aged 13 to 36, were taken to the Kiryat Gat police station for questioning.

Police said that minors who took part in the protest damaged a car by throwing rocks at it and kicking the vehicle.

In September, Religious Services Minister David Azoulay called for protection for Kiryat Gat Chief Rabbi Moshe Havlin, following severe incitement and physical attacks were directed against him and his family by Natorei Karta extremists.

Havlin, who is a leader of the Chabad community, was reportedly a key figure in an agreement reached several weeks ago between Chabad yeshivot and the IDF, whereby young Chabad men can postpone their military service and go abroad for two years to work as Chabad emissaries.

As part of the agreement, 85% of emissaries will enlist in the IDF upon their return, while 15% will be chosen by Chabad yeshiva deans to be given an exemption as Torah scholars.

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