Hundreds of Jews in the US have staged a protest rally outside the UN headquarters in New York, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was delivering a speech.
Members of New York’s Orthodox Jewish community gathered in front of the UN as Netanyahu was addressing the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
They slammed the Israeli regime for what they called “degrading” the community by forcing its members in Israel to serve in the military.
Executive director and president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, Rabbi David Niederman, also addressed the crowd.
“People should not be forced to serve in the army if their conscience does not allow them to do that,” he said.
Under a 2014 law, the Tel Aviv regime has been forcing Orthodox Jewish young men to serve in its army. Israel imprisons for weeks and sometimes months those who refuse to join the military.
Niederman said the protesters want the regime to stop imprisoning people for avoiding to join the army or “we ask the world body” to pile pressure on the Tel Aviv to that effect.
Bibi calls UN rights body ‘a joke’
During his speech at the UN, Netanyahu called the UN Human Rights Council a “joke,” saying that “We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the UN began as a moral force, has become a moral farce,” he added.
Speaking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu said, “The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”
“Does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?” he added.
Israel has long been defying international calls for pulling out of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds.
The latest round of talks between the two sides collapsed in 2014.
Addressing the assembly on the same day, president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to make efforts to turn 2017 into the final year of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Abbas said Palestinians’ readiness for engaging in peace initiatives have always been overshadowed by “mentality of hegemony, expansionism and colonization” of the regime in Tel Aviv.