Supreme Court: Residents of Petah Tikva have no right to quiet

Supreme Court discusses whether to allow weekly leftist protests outside Attorney General's home to keep disturbing residents' weekend rest.

Eliran Aharon ,

Supreme Court
Supreme Court
Flash 90

The Supreme Court on Thursday held a discussion regarding whether or not leftists are allowed to hold protests every Saturday outside Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's home in Petah Tikva.

Present in the discussion were two lead protesters, who were arrested last Saturday.

Last Thursday (August 17), the Supreme Court ruled that the protests must be moved to a nearby park, and canceled the residents' claim that Israel Police did not control the noise.

During the discussion, a police representative told the court that Israel Police's decision not to allow protests outside of Mandelblit's home was made because the reality of the protests changed as well.

"The speeches and music disturbed the residents, and we therefore changed our policy," the police spokesman said. "If the protesters wish to request a license to protest, we will be happy to review the request. They refused to make such a request, and ignored our repeated and varied offers."

"There have been more than enough of these protests."

Judge Fogelman said, "Is that the police's stance on the issue? That there have been more than enough of these protests? We live in a time when freedom of expression is valued."

Meanwhile a spokesman for Mandelblit's neighborhood said, "These protests start before Shabbat (Sabbath) ends, and they disturb the residents. Likud's counter-protests also disturb us."

Judge Danziger dismissed this claim, saying, "The residents' right to quiet does not even come close to the protesters' right to protest and enjoy freedom of expression. [The residents' right to quiet is] very low on our list of considerations."

The Likud counter-protesters' lawyer said, "This area has become a symbol of the pressure placed on the Attorney General. It doesn't matter if it's 100 meters from his home, or a different area of the city."

"It's impossible not to look at the content of the matter. This is not a protest about corruption. It's a protest against the Attorney General, who has been called a 'useless rag.' What are we coming to?"

According to the protesters' lawyer, Israel Police stepped out of their boundaries when they placed limits on the protest. He wondered what made the police change their minds.

"It's interesting that until the neighborhood committee turned to the Supreme Court, the police didn't think to limit the number of protesters and we did not need a license. They didn't think about it."

"The residents made the same claims earlier," he pointed out, "and they were rejected."Judge Hayut said, "As long as the public did not complain, the police had patience. As soon as someone started protesting, the police began to act.