Police 'illegally' distance activists from J'lem

Police try to keep activists who opposed missionaries out of Old City on Jerusalem Day, showing 'cops need civil rights courses.'

Shomo Pyotrkovsky ,

Itamar Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvir
Mendy Hechtman/Flash 90

The Jerusalem police on Sunday asked the city's Magistrate's Court to issue an order blocking five activists of the anti-assimilation organization Lehava from entering the Old City, just in time for Jerusalem Day.

The five were detained for investigation last week during a protest against missionary activity in the Old City, and were forced to sign on release conditions distancing them from the Old City.

Their lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, afterwards submitted a request to the court demanding that it cancel all the conditions which he argued "are not legal and are not in line with the principles of democracy in the state of Israel."

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge David Gabai ordered the police to respond to the request, and on Sunday the police announced that the situation in the Old City was volatile due to the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

Given the supposedly volatile situation, the police called not to allow the activists who protested against missionary activity last Wednesday to enter the Old City of Israel's capital.

In response Ben-Gvir requested that the judge schedule an urgent hearing on his request to cancel the distancing order.

"The conduct of the police, beyond the fact that it broadcasts panic and hysteria, testifies that it is not strict regarding human and civil rights," wrote the lawyer in the request.

"It is the right of the Lehava activists to march in Jerusalem with flags, and by the police not internalizing that freedom of expression and marching applies to everyone, that teaches that the police should be given a course on civil and democratic rights."

Commenting on the incident on Facebook, Ben-Gvir later wrote sarcastically about the capitulation to Arab rioters, saying, "now they are also distancing Lehava activists from the Old City. The main thing is not to anger the rioters."