A Jewish woman who converted to Islam and her Muslim partner have asked the High Court of Justice to prevent a right-wing protest outside the hall where they plan to marry Sunday night.
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In their petition, the couple is also asking the court to stop members of the anti-Arab organization Lehava from harassing them, including at the reception in the city of Rishon Letzion.
The organization, whose name is a Hebrew acronym for “preventing assimilation in the Holy Land,” has used Facebook to call on supporters to demonstrate at the banquet hall.
The couple, whose first names are Mahmoud and Morel, live in Jaffa. They met five years ago. Sunday night’s event will only be a celebration; a Muslim wedding has already taken place.
“We’ve been together for five years, but we’ve never encountered such racism. I always knew there were racists, but as long as you’re not affected by it, until you feel it in your own body, you don’t know what it is,” Mahmoud told Haaretz.
“If it were someone from her family, I would understand, but these people aren’t related. Why do they care? Why are they getting involved? If they think they’ll get us to give up on each other, it won’t happen.”
The groom’s parents and bride’s mother support the marriage, but the bride’s father does not and says he will not attend the celebration. The couple, however, have received plenty of support, Mahmoud says.
Following the post on Facebook, the couple have received death threats over the phone, as have members of their families. Both Mahmoud and Morel have since changed their phone numbers.
Despite the threats, they’re going on with the ceremony and have decorated their Jaffa home according to tradition. Due to the threats, the police have required the couple to hire 33 security guards at a cost of 15,000 shekels ($4,330).
“Why are they forcing me to spend out of my own pocket?” Mahmoud said. “If something happens, they’re supposed to take care of it, not me.”
But again, there’s plenty of cheer. “We feel great, and that really gives us strength. They think they’ll break us, but we can’t be broken. The opposite is true – we’re getting stronger,” Mahmoud said.
“The wedding will go on as planned – it will be great. I’m not worried, but it’s troubling that on this day, which everyone waits for their whole life, the happiest day of their life, I have to go to court. It’s sad that such things happen in this country.”
Lehava’s notice on Facebook takes a different view. “On Sunday we will all be in Rishon! An abomination is taking place in Israel! We will not be silent, we will be there to protest,” the group says.
“Come with placards and loudspeakers. In the name of God we will succeed! Share this with everyone! Sadly, this is really happening.”