Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets here Sunday afternoon to express anger over attempts by Israel’s political leaders to force them to serve in the military.
Local media outlets estimated crowds at the “million-man march” to number more than 300,000, while organizers put the figure closer to 500,000. Police did not provide an exact figure, but spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were present. It was one of the largest demonstrations in the country since 2011, when about 200,000 Israelis protested the high cost of living.
Sunday’s demonstration, which took place in and around the crowded ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods at the entrance to Jerusalem, brought traffic and public transport to a standstill and forced schools to close early as thousands flooded the city.