District Court: No link between Lehava activities and violent incidents

Monday, October 27, 2014, 15:40 The Jerusalem District Court rejected claims by the police linking the activities of Lehava (The Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land) and incidents of violence, and also ruled that there is no proof of an increase in violent incidents against Arabs in Jerusalem. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger: “Freedom of expression includes the staff of Lehava.” On the morning of Monday, October 27 Jerusalem District Court Judge Shirli Rand accepted the appeal filed by Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger against the restraining order banning activists working with Lehava from the Jerusalem City Center. The activists were detained during a protest held at the site of the terror attack in Jerusalem on Thursday, October 23 and issued a restraining order by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court banning them from the Jerusalem City Center after the police claimed that every week Lehava organizes activities in Zion Square and the Jerusalem City Center and that recently there has been an increase in the number of violent incidents against Arabs in the Jerusalem City Center. Wertzberger pleaded in the deliberation that there is no legal cause to link the protest held on Route 1 with the activity of Lehava, which is completely legal and held in the Jerusalem City Center. Judge Shirli Rand accepted Wertzberger’s plea and ordered the cancellation of the restraining order. Judge Rand also ruled that she found no link between Lehava’s activities and violent incidents of any type. She stressed that the police did not prove that the number of violent incidents against Arabs in Center City Jerusalem has increased recently. “No base of evidence has been presented showing that the incidents of violence which have occurred recently in the Jerusalem City Center according to the representative of the complainant are linked to this organization [Lehava] or to the appealers has been presented. Also no base of evidence has been presented on their actual occurrence,” wrote the judge. Wertzberger said in response, “Rule of law means that also the Lehava organization has the right of freedom of expression and that the police must respect and ensure this right.” Bentzi Gopstein, the head of Lehava, welcomed the court’s decision. “Again it was proven that Lehava’s activities are legal and Jewish. We expect that the police will maintain Jewish dignity rather than harassing activists. ‘Well done!’ to Honenu’s staff for again ensuring that justice came to light.”

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