'Police beat him because of left-wing incitement'

Leader of anti-assimilation group hospitalized after being beaten by police following his arrest.

David Rosenberg ,

Bentzi Gopshtain
Bentzi Gopshtain
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The head of the anti-assimilation organization Lehava was injured by police following his arrest, leading to his hospitalization, a group spokesperson said Thursday night.

Bentzi Gopshtain, founder of Lehava and a resident of Hevron, was taken into custody Thursday evening when he and dozens of group activists disrupted what they described as a missionary event in Clal Center in Jerusalem.

Police were called to the scene and detained Gopshtain and a second Lehava member for disorderly conduct.

Later Thursday evening, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir notified reporters that Gopshtain had been attacked by police after being taken into custody, saying that his injuries were severe enough to need hospitalization.

“Lehava chairman Bentzi Gopshtain was admitted this evening to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital following an attack on him by police officers,” Ben-Gvir wrote.

“Gopshtain was detained for questioning, but while in custody he was attacked by Border Police officers, who injured him. He is currently being treated and undergoing medical tests.

Ben-Gvir added that rhetoric by left-wing opponents of the group likely contributed to the harsh treatment against Gopshtain.

“The incitement against Gopshtain led the police [officers] to use violence against him,” remarking that “it is sad that police allow themselves to attack a right-winger to the point where he needs medical attention.”

Earlier on Thursday, left-wing activists held a demonstration against Lehava in Zion Square in Jerusalem, blasting the group as “racist”.