Ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known as the Haredim, gathered this past Sunday in the Financial District to pray for the cancellation of an Israeli bill that would impose legal obligations on orthodox students to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces or national service. The NYPD closed the street for some 35,000 protestors.
Anyone near Water Street could hear them chant in unison. Men dressed in long, black suits and hats. Women, accompanied by many kids, wore long skirts and long sleeved shirts followed the readings dutifully.
On February 19, the first committee of the Israeli Parliament passed a new draft law that obliges Haredi men to serve in the military or do community service and imposes criminal sanctions to those who evade it. The law still has to pass the second and the third reading, which is expected to happen later this month.