Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested and clashed with police in the Makor Baruch neighborhood of Jerusalem late on Sunday, April 15 (local time). The demonstrators were reportedly protesting the arrest of a woman from the Har Nof neighborhood - an area composed mainly of Orthodox Jews - for refusing to comply with Israel's military draft law. At least four police officers and eight protesters were wounded in the clashes before police dispersed the protest. Additional ultra-Orthodox protests are possible in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel in the coming days and weeks. Consequent heightened security measures and transportation disruptions are expected near protest sites.
Protests over the draft, some of them violent, have taken place in recent months in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and Beit Shemesh - cities that are home to large ultra-Orthodox communities.
In September 2017, Israel's Supreme Court struck down a 2015 law that granted military service exemptions to ultra-Orthodox men; however, the court suspended its decision for one year to allow for new arrangements to be made. Recent controversy and protests over ultra-Orthodox conscription, backed by the Jerusalem Faction group, pressured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition to attempt to address the issue by drafting a bill in March to formally exempt ultra-Orthodox individuals from conscription or likely face the splintering of the coalition and early elections.
Individuals in Israel are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations and protests due to the risk of violent escalation, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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