Police Ban Rally; Livnat Demands Cabinet Vote

The police have refused to issue a permit for an anti-expulsion rally. Minister Livnat demanded the police appear before the Cabinet, and a left-wing civil rights group criticized the police.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 13:44

Education Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) said, "Let the police present before the Cabinet [on Sunday] the reasoning" behind prohibiting the rally. She said democracy does not allow for the police "to get on buses in Kiryat Shimoneh and take licenses away from drivers," as the police did two weeks ago during the three-day anti-expulsion rally that began at Netivot and ended at Kfar Maimon.

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) has called for a massive rally beginning Tuesday in the Negev town of Sderot, which has been besieged by Arab mortar and rocket attacks. Livnat said that Yesha deserves praise for "showing responsibility and… should be relied on to prevent violence."

Interior Minister Ophir Pines (Labor) accused Yesha leaders of a "putsch attempt" by trying to hold an illegal rally. Livnat pointed out that the police unfairly determined the rally to be illegal by refusing to issue a permit. Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra (Likud) encouraged the police to deny the protest organizers a permit, and charged that their real intention was to wear down the police.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which traditionally defends Arabs and foreign workers, sent an angry letter to Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi and warned, "The use of extreme and unauthorized measures to thwart a demonstration, even if an illegal demonstration, is reminiscent of regimes that we wouldn't want to resemble," the civil rights association complained.

Yesha Council chairman Bentzi Lieberman said Friday, "The Israeli nation is still trying at the last minute to act against this dangerous and destructive plan. It's not enough to try to silence this cry, this protest, but they also want to uproot the democracy?"

Government attempts to prevent buses and individuals from reaching protests have portrayed a negative image of Israel to Europeans and North Americans. The Orthodox Union (OU) earlier this week demanded answers from Israel's American Ambassador Danny Ayalon concerning denial of civil rights and discrimination against observant Jews opposed to the expulsion plan.