Police Raid the Offices of Otzma Yehudit

Police raid and search the offices of the Otzma Yehudit party, says raid is related to investigation into Lehava.

Avi Haim,

Police raid Otzma Yehudit offices
Police raid Otzma Yehudit offices
Otzma Yehudit

Police on Wednesday evening raided the offices of the Otzma Yehudit party, headed by former MK Michael Ben-Ari, and searched the premises.

Sources in the police explained that the raid was related to an investigation into the anti-assimilation Lehava group, the leader of which was arrested with nine other activists Monday night on suspicions of "incitement".

According to the police, Otzma Yehudit’s offices were used by Lehava. The sources said that the investigation into the organization includes extensive searches in the homes of activists and in the offices of Lehava.

"This evening as well there was a search in the office of the organization and in places where the organization operates," said the sources. “The police have no interest in investigating any political party. Any attempt to link the current activity with the election period is a provocation.”

Nevertheless, Ben-Ari responded to the raid and said that "the police raid on the offices of Otzma Yehudit is yet another move of a political police losing its head.”

"After the police was dealt a blow in court today since it does not internalize that we are in a democracy, it is now seeking to interfere in the elections. This is an outrage that characterizes the darkest regimes. Our spirits will not be broken,” he added.

The crackdown on Lehava comes after three youths who are members of the organization were arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a bilingual Jewish and Arab school in Jerusalem and scrawling racist graffiti. According to the indictment submitted against them on Monday, the three decided to do so after learning the school held a memorial honoring the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat.

Former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, who recently merged with Labor, on Tuesday applauded the arrest, revealing discussions had been held in the past to pave the way for targeting the heads of Lehava and make it illegal, stating "they have no place in Israeli society."