Protest against Arab Torch Lighter Cancelled

Lehava says due to police distancing and speech ban, it will not hold protest of Lucy Aharish lighting torch - but will find another way.

Ari Yashar,

Lucy Aharish
Lucy Aharish
Isaac Harari/Flash 90

Responding to a police ban, the Lehava anti-assimilation organization announced Wednesday that it will cancel its protest against Arab Israeli TV presenter Lucy Aharish's lighting of the 67th Israeli Independence Day ceremonial torch.

Lehava director Bentzi Gopshtain earlier claimed that Aharish "isn't loyal to the state of Israel, and it should make people sad that she, of all people, was selected to light the torch on Independence Day. If they had chosen a representative of the Arab sector who accepts that the land of Israel is the land of the Jewish people, I would understand it."

But hours before the lighting ceremony on Wednesday, Lehava said in a statement that "due to the silencing by the Israeli police, which is meant to prevent the holding of a legitimate protest, we have cancelled the protest against the ceremony."

Police said they had given the protest permission to take place at the Chen Hotel, out of eyesight from the torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl. Lehava earlier reported that police had forbidden the protesters from making any speeches either.

"This is ridiculous, it's an act of silencing, there is no consideration here," Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir who is representing Lehava told Channel 2 about the police response.

"We thought of turning to the High Court, but there are only a few hours left and we aren't sure that they will discuss the matter," added the attorney.

Lehava announced that it is weighing other steps to protest "the ridiculous decision which cheapens the value of Independence Day."

Ben-Gvir confirmed that Gopshtain "will think of other activities against Lucy (Aharish)," as a means of protesting her selection to light the torch.