An Israeli court refused to stop a racist right-wing demonstration outside a wedding hall where an Arab-Jewish couple is holding a wedding celebration even though the couple and their families have received death threats.
Above: Lehava's chairman Bentizion "Bentzi" Gupstein (sometimes spelled "Gopstein")
Court Refuses To Block Right-Wing Demonstration At Private Jewish-Muslim Wedding
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
An Israeli court refused to stop a right-wing demonstration outside a wedding hall where an Arab-Jewish couple is holding a wedding celebration even though the couple has received deathh threats but ordered police to keep demonstrators at least 200 meters (656 feet) from the building at all times.
The Rishon L’Tzion Magistrate’s Court issued the ruling today in response to the couple’s request for an injunction to block the planned demonstration by the right-wing racist neo-Kahanist Lehava organization, Ha’aretz reported.
The husband is an Israeli Arab Muslim from Jaffa. His Jewish Israeli wife converted to Islam. The couple, who have been together for five years, already married in a Muslim ceremony. The event scheduled for tonight in Rishon L’Tzion is a celebration of that wedding.
Lehava is made up primarily of Zionist Orthodox, haredi and Chabad Jews. It publicly called on its Facebook page for members and supporters to flood the wedding hall and to come equipped with bullhorns and placards and Lehava’s head, Bentzion “Bentzi” Gupstein, called the husband an “enemy” and chastised the wife for intermarrying and especially for marrying an “enemy” during a time of war.
Similar right-wing demonstrations across the country over the past six weeks have turned violent, with Arabs being beaten by mobs of right wing vigilantes.
Israel’s political elite and even local politicians were silent about the planned protest, even after the couple’s plight was publicized last week by Ma’ariv and then by Ha’aretz.
Eventually, President Reuven Rivlin spoke up on his Facebook page.
“There is a red line between freedom of speech and protest on the one hand and incitement on the other. Mahmoud and Morel from Jaffa have decided to marry and to exercise their freedom in a democratic country. The manifestations of incitement against them are infuriating and distressing, whatever my opinion or anyone else’s might be regarding the issue itself. Not everyone has to share in the happiness of Mahmoud and Morel — but everyone has to respect them. Among us and within our midst there are harsh and sharp disagreements but incitement, violence and racism have no place in Israeli society. These manifestations are undermining the foundations of our shared life here in the Jewish and democratic, democratic and Jewish State of Israel,” Rivlin reportedly wrote, and then concluded with a quotation from the early right-wing secular Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. “‘In the beginning God created the individual.’ We are a free people in our country,” Rivlin added, “in opinion and action, and I wish the young couple health, satisfaction and happiness.”
Lehava published the couple’s wedding celebration invitation and their personal contact information. It asked members and supporters to come demonstrate against the wedding and to call the couple before the celebration and harass them.
The couple received death threats. So have members of their families.
In order to allow the celebration to be held as planned, police required that the couple hire 33 security guards at a cost of about 15,000 shekels ($4,330) – something unimaginable in most democracies. (The owners of the wedding hall have reportedly promised to pay half of that cost.)
“Why are they forcing me to spend out of my own pocket? If something happens, they’re supposed to take care of it, not me,” the husband told Ha’aretz with regard to the police.
Cynics note that Israel Police have blocked political demonstrations, especially by the left-wing, due to security issues or issue of public order, but made no attempt to block the right-wing demonstration against a private wedding celebration, even though the threat to public order and to the safety of those attending the celebration is clear.