J.J. Goldberg

Israeli Police Ban Leftist Protests, Fearing Violence; O.K. Rightist Protests Despite Violence

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share

Police in metropolitan Tel Aviv are refusing to authorize a planned protest march in the largely Orthodox city of Bnei Brak by a secularist group called Forum for Equality of Burden, which advocates ending the automatic draft exemption for Haredi yeshiva students. Ynet reports that the forum announced plans to march through downtown Bnei Brak this coming Thursday, wearing their army uniforms and carrying Israeli flags.

Police reportedly told the forum that Bnei Brak residents have heard about the planned march and are afraid it will lead to violence. Forum chair Miri Baron told Ynet that she had been heard there were threats of violence against her group.

One member of the group told Ynet that his group wants the same treatment that police gave to Kahane-linked rightists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir in 2008 when they marched through the Arab town of Umm el-Fahm under heavy police protection. The government had sought to block that march on grounds that it would incite violence, pointing to a list of past incidents in which Marzel and Ben-Gvir had staged provocative protests leading to riots.

But the Supreme Court overruled the government and ordered the police to authorize the march and provide security.

Ironically, Ben-Gvir argued in the court hearing at that time that right-wing activists deserved to received the same treatment as left-wingers. He also argued that the court should not let permit the state to be cowed by threats of violence. (The march took place amid heavy police protection and resulted in rioting in which several police were hospitalized.)

In a separate development that I’m sure is totally unrelated, police in Jerusalem over the past year have arrested dozens of left-wing demonstrators protesting against Jewish settlers moving into the mostly-Arab Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, despite repeated court rulings that the arrests were an illegal violation of the demonstrators’ rights.

Marzel and Ben-Gvir were back in court at the end of July 2010 seeking permission to stage another march through Umm el-Fahm, this time to protest the endorsement by Islamic Movement leader Raed Salah of last May’s Turkish flotilla. The state again objected, this time with the backing of the Shin Bet security service, noting that the rightists’ 2008 march had led to violence as predicted, and warning that the new march might result in deaths. The high court again approved the march, but only after ordering the police and the marchers to find a compromise. The deal that the court approved moves the march from its planned route, directly in front of the Islamic Movement’s offices, to another part of the city.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: draft exemptions, Umm el-Fahm, demonstrators, Sheikh Jarrah, Kahanists, Israeli police, Bnei Brak

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.