Protests erupt in Nazareth over military draft policy
On July 15, 2012 At 4:30 pm
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Israeli right wing activists gathered in Nazareth to protest exemptions of Orthodox Jews and Arabs from the nation's military draft. Earlier this month, an Israeli government committee issued a report suggesting that the Haredim, a growing group of ultra-Orthodox Jews, start serving in the military like everyone else — a report that ignited a great deal of controversy.
Far outnumbering the protesters, more than 1,000 Israeli police were deployed to Nazareth to prevent any violence, Reuters reports.
"We came here to tell the Arabs of Israel that the party is finished, it's over," one of the protesters told Reuters. "You have to give. You want rights? You have to give your … what you have to give to the country."
An Israeli-Arab lawmaker characterized the protesters as racist before they were hauled away by police. "We have the right to protest, but protests by racists is a criminal act," he said. "They should be put in jail. There is a law against racism. They should not be here."
A small group of Arab men staged a counter protest, calling the ultra-nationalist protesters to leave Nazareth.
Many Israelis see military service as part of their duty to protect their homeland against neighboring Arab states.
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