Middle East

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters attack Israeli minister’s car amid anger at military draft ruling

By Lauren Izso and Hande Atay Alam, CNN

CNN  —  Protests in Jerusalem against the drafting of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israeli military turned violent on Sunday, with demonstrators attacking both law enforcement officers and a minister’s car, according to local police.

Rioters threw stones at police officers and the car of Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf as he returned to his house, according to an Israeli police spokesperson. Protesters also set trash cans and the road on fire, blocking the highway.

Goldknopf’s spokesperson confirmed to CNN that police evacuated him safely from the area a few minutes after the attack and he was not injured.

Goldknopf is the minister of housing and construction and the head of the United Torah Judaism party.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrators clash with police during a protest against the draft in Jerusalem on June 30, 2024.

Social media videos showed protesters surrounding the minister’s car with some banging on its windows. Other videos showed children and teen protesters walking near to dumpster fires.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have been protesting in the streets of Jerusalem since the Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday ordering the government to draft ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military.

Since Israel’s founding, ultra-Orthodox Jews have been exempted from mandatory military service. The court also said that the government could no longer fund any religious schools – called “yeshivas” – whose students don’t participate in the draft.

Though both men and women are subject to Israel’s mandatory conscription, the ruling only applies to ultra-Orthodox men.

Police said they had to use force to disperse the protesters after orders for them to leave were ignored.

Five people were arrested, two of them for attacking police officers, and three others for throwing stones or other objects, the police said in a statement.

Some officers are remaining in the area to direct traffic and prevent further disturbances, the police said.

“The police take seriously the attempts of those violent lawbreakers to hurt Israeli police officers with stones, sticks, eggs and other things. There is no connection between a lawful protest and criminal and violent conduct of this type – which may lead to injury to body and property,” the police said in a statement.

“The conduct of those who disturb the order and break the law in the area deserves every reproach. The Israel Police will continue to act against those violent troublemakers to maintain public order and the law,” it added.

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