Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews rally in a massive show of force against plans to force them to serve in the Israeli military, blocking roads and paralyzing the city of Jerusalem, Sunday, March 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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More than 300,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews took to Jerusalem's streets for a mass prayer vigil Sunday in protest at plans to conscript their young men for Israeli military or civilian service.Military service is compulsory in Israel, with men serving three years and women two.The move to force ultra-Orthodox men to serve their country is seen by many Israelis as amending the historic injustice of the exemption handed to the ultra-Orthodox in 1948, when Israel was created. Because of their high birth rate, the ultra-Orthodox community has since swelled to make up roughly 10 percent of the country's population of just over eight million, and continues to be the fastest growing group in Israel.The current exemption from military service is only given to ultra-Orthodox men who commit to remain in their yeshivas, and who are therefore not available for work.
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