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February 7, 2014

News Briefs February 7, 2014

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest pending Israeli draft

Israeli police say thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews are blocking highways across the country to protest plans to enlist them in the military.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the simultaneous demonstrations Feb. 6 have caused large traffic jams. He says the demonstrators are clashing with police, who are dispersing them with water cannons.

Some 400 are trying to block the entrance to Jerusalem. In the southern city of Ashdod, the demonstrators hurled stones at police, injuring two. Rosenfeld says eight protestors were arrested.

The riots follow a Supreme Court ruling this week ordering funding halted to ultra-Orthodox seminaries whose students dodge the draft.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have for years been exempt from service, which caused widespread resentment among Israelís secular majority. The ultra-Orthodox claim the military will expose their youth to secularism. AP

Army loses bid to dismiss Connecticut veterans lawsuit

A federal judge in Connecticut has rejected a U.S. Army bid to dismiss a lawsuit by a Vietnam War veteran who claims he is wrongly being denied health care benefits.

Judge Warren Eginton ruled Feb. 4 in favor of 65-year old William Dolphin of West Haven, Conn. The Army argued the lawsuit should be dismissed on technical grounds.

Dolphin was seriously wounded in combat in Vietnam in 1968 and received the Purple Heart. He was given a bad conduct discharge in 1974 after being accused of going AWOL. But he say she didnít realize he was considered AWOL after leaving hospital to convalesce at home.

Dolphin is suing for a discharge upgrade to honorable that would give him federal benefits to help treat his post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. AP




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Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

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