We are all familiar with the picture of people marching down the street dressed in their uniform, shouting threats, spreading hate, and commiting acts of violence. This picture fills us with feelings of fear and helplessness. It is happening in front of our very eyes and we feel like we can’t do anything.
But we at IRAC are doing something about it on our own streets in Jerusalem.
For the past 9 years, we have been monitoring Lehava. Lehava, literally meaning flame, is one of the most dangerous organizations in Israel. They operate under the premise of preventing assimilation and protecting the daughters of Israel from intermarrying. Eradicating hate, and standing up for minority rights is not always popular in the current political climate. Last year we released a series of video testimonials of victims of Lehava and witnesses of their violence in downtown Jerusalem (A’s testimonial, Worker’s testimonial, Jamal’s testimonial, H’s testimonial) to raise awareness of their activities in Jerusalem. In July, we filed a Supreme Court petition calling on the Court to force the Attorney General and the Israeli police to take action against Lehava.
Yesterday morning, Bentzi Gopstein, the head of Lehava, and 14 of his followers were arrested for threats made on a site called Telegram. Gopstein will blame his arrest on our Supreme Court petition against him, and we gladly take responsibility. It is because of our petition against him that the police are finally beginning to step up and take action.
Yesterday’s arrest was a major victory for us. the battle continues to be difficult, we expect the coming months to be critical in our struggle against Lehava.
Support our continued fight against racism in Israel.
Anat and Noa