Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews are filling streets in lower Manhattan to protest Israel's proposal to draft strictly religious citizens into its army.

The gathering is filling a 10-block stretch of Pearl Street.

Sunday's prayer event brings together a community of New York's most Orthodox Jews. They're based in Brooklyn and in the village of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, north of the city.

Protester Yitz Farkas, an American citizen, says religious Jews should not be forced to join a secular army. Some protesters also say they're against Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, organizers said they would honor their tradition of separating men from women at religious events by doing the same at the rally.