Former MK Michael Ben-Ari on Thursday slammed police for their “invasion” of the offices of the new Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) party in Jerusalem.
“On false pretenses, and to make up for the severe criticism being levied at them, they decided that the best move was to come into our offices and interfere with the organization of an election event for our party,” said Ben-Ari.
Police said that they entered the offices based on suspicions that it was a "front" for Lehava, an organization that works against Jewish assimilation which has recently been the target of a police crackdown.
Ben-Ari denied any connection with Lehava. “We just opened these offices last week,” he said. With that, he added, “I admire Lehava. If Golda Meir was around today, she would give this organization an award," noting on her support of the struggle against assimilation, which is against Jewish law.
Three youths who are Lehava members have been accused of an arson attack on a bilingual school, but Ben-Ari noted that the organization itself is perfectly legal, and could not be held responsible for the acts of individuals who claim affinity or even membership in the group.
“I am completely against illegal activities,” said Ben-Ari. “If police suspect anyone of a crime, they should arrest and try them.” That has nothing to do with Lehava, which he “personally admires,” he said.
Admiration for the organization is no reason to interfere with the political process, added Ben-Ari.
“When MK Hanan Zoabi joined the Marmara terrorist ship, where IDF soldiers were killed, we did not see a police raid the offices of her party, Balad,” he said.
“Why not? I filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to find out, and it took him a year and a half to respond,” in which he said Balad was not responsible for Zoabi's actions. “Why am I different?” he asked, noting the serious gap in response.