Police brought 27 anti-draft ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem Faction activists before a judge Sunday afternoon to be remanded after they refused to identify themselves during questioning.
Hundreds of protesters took part in mass demonstrations over the weekend against efforts to apprehend ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers. The protests followed a week of road-blocks and clashes with police over the issue.
In a controversial move, police investigators wrote numbers on the suspects’ hands to identify them. One of the suspects remarked that “it was as if we underwent a holocaust” as he was being escorted to the courtroom.
In response to the criticism, the Israel Police issued a statement saying, “During the course of a violent demonstration in Jerusalem last Thursday, dozens of Charedim blocked roads, disrupted public transportation and prevented cars from traveling for a prolonged period in a blatant disruption of public order. The police detained 10 suspects, and to make matters worse, they refused to identify themselves.
“Due process requires the police to identify perpetrators of a crime in order to establish an evidentiary case. Therefore, investigators were forced to identify the suspects in a way that would allow them to be monitored. They were brought to this court for remand and we will have to discuss their cases according to serial numbers, the way they appear in court records.”
On Sunday, the violence continued, with Charedi youths protesting in support of dodging the mandatory military draft. Upon being arrested, they were found to be draft dodgers themselves.
Out of the 120 Charedim arrested since last Thursday, police discovered that 40 of them were deserters.
By Yehuda Shlezinger/Israel Hayom