Israeli Public Security Minister Considers Outlawing Jewish Extremist organizationLehava

Such a move was nixed by the Shin Bet two months ago due to the lack of evidence against the group.

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 Bentzi Gopstein, head of the far-right Lehava organization, arrested in Jerusalem protest after day of terror attacks throughout Israel. October 8, 2015.
Bentzi Gopstein, head of the far-right Lehava organization, arrested in Jerusalem protest after day of terror attacks throughout Israel. October 8, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Friday that he was considering outlawing the extremist, far-right organization Lehava.

Erdan told Army Radio that organizations such as Lehava “incite to violence” and that “we’re examining every possible legal step [against it], including outlawing it.”

Lehava leader Bentzi Gopstein was arrested at a demonstration of rightist activists in Jerusalem on Thursday night. Gopstein responded by saying “I haven’t heard that they’ve outlawed the Islamic Movement.”

The security forces contemplated outlawing Lehava in December last year at the request of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who wanted to know whether the organization could be classified as a forbidden group or a terror organization. Ya’alon made the same request of the defense establishment’s legal advisor.

However, the Shin Bet responded some two months ago that there was no “intelligence information” to justify such a step. However, the Shin Bet said that if such evidence was found, the possibility of outlawing Lehava would be reexamined.

Hundreds of far-right protesters, including members of Lehava and the extreme group La Familia, which is identified with Betar Jerusalem fans, demonstrated in Jerusalem on Thursday. Despite police efforts to keep the demonstrators in Sacher Park, they marched to the Western Wall, looking for Arabs to attack on the way. Four protesters, including Gopstein, were arrested in the course of clashes with policemen.

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