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Freedom of Protest? Not for Nationalist Jews in Yafo

Police want to limit Zionist march, nationalists remind High Court that the police placed no such restriction on Arab-leftist demonstrations.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/27/2011, 8:16 PM / Last Update: 2/27/2011, 8:41 PM

Yoni Kempinski

The Tel Aviv District Police have agreed to allow a limited version of a planned Zionist march through Yafo (Jaffa) Wednesday, after initially refusing to allow it at all. The police softened their initial position after the event's organizers announced their intention to appeal to the High Court.

Police want the march to avoid Yefet Street, a major road that traverses some of Yafo's best known landmarks, and are willing to let it pass through less central streets. Police cite their concern that the march would provoke Arab violence. However, the organizers are unhappy with the police's new position, too, and are pressing forward with their court motion.
 
The nationalists accused police of "surrendering to the rabble." Organizers said that "It is amazing that this same police allowed Arabs to march freely throughout Yafo." They were referring to a march by Arabs and leftists last month, in which many chanted slogans against Israel. 
 
The same crowd marched through Tel Aviv with police permission in November, waving a large PLO flag
 
The march planned for Wednesday is an attempt to counter recent Muslim extremism in the area, activists said. 
 
Among those who oppose the planned march are leaders of a "nucleus group" of religious-Zionist families who moved there to enhance Jewish life in the city. The march, they said, would "fan the flames" of Arab nationalism. 
 
Similar objections were raised by Jewish residents of Shiloach in Jerusalem when Ben-Gvir and Marzel were about to march there last spring