Israeli soldiers escorting ultra-Orthodox Jews, August 5, 2011. (File photo)
Thousands of Israelis have poured into the streets of Tel Aviv to protest a military draft that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from serving in the army.
On Saturday, thousands of Israeli protesters packed into a square in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, demanding the mandatory military service to be extended to all Israelis, including ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Chanting "One people, one draft," demonstrators carried placards reading "Military service for everyone" and "Equal service for all.”
Earlier, on July 2, Kadima’s party chief Shaul Mofaz threatened to quit the coalition with the Likud party unless amendments were made to the Tal Law, passed in 2002, which exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from serving in the army as long as they are engaged in religious studies.
Israel's Supreme Court in February set an August 1 deadline for Tel Aviv regime to find an alternative to the law after it ruled that it was unconstitutional.
More than 60,000 ultra-Orthodox men are currently exempt from mandatory military service. The exemptions and their refusal to enter the workforce have angered the Israeli general public.
Israeli men are required to serve three years in the military, while women serve two years.
Also on July 1, Israelis staged rallies in protest at social inequalities and the rising cost of living in several cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (al-Quds).