Anti-Arab Group Plans to Disrupt Mixed Marriage Celebration

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Certificate distributed by anti-Arab organization Lehava to announce that a business only hires Jews.Credit: Haaretz

The anti-Arab organization Lehava is threatening to disrupt the wedding celebration of a Muslim man and Jewish woman planned for Sunday night in Rishon Letzion.

The organization, whose name is a Hebrew acronym for Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land, has been disseminating the wedding invitation over social media in recent days, and calling on supporters to demonstrate at the banquet hall when the celebration takes place.

"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. Come with placards and loudspeakers. In the name of God we will succeed! Share this with everyone! Sadly, this is really happening," read the statement on the Facebook page of Lehava, headed by Bentzi Gopstein.

In three days the page got more than 2,000 "Likes," but also drew angry responses. Many commenters spoke out against the invasion of the private lives of the couple, Jaffa residents Mahmoud and Morel, and against Lehava's intent to disrupt their celebration.

"Disgraceful, disgusting, only a loser would turn up at the wedding to harass the couple, may everyone live and let live, stop being such nuisances," wrote one commenter.

"What have we come to that people here think they have the right to go to the wedding of strangers and demonstrate against them?! You people are so brainwashed, it's sickening! You should be ashamed of yourselves," wrote another.

Couple already married

Sunday's event in Rishon Letzion, however, will only be a celebration; the wedding has already taken place according to Islamic custom, said Mahmoud, noting that Morel had converted to Islam. The groom's parents and bride's mother support the marriage, but the bride's father does not, and has said he will not attend the celebration.

In recent days Lehava activists have contacted the couple and pressured them to annul the marriage. "Several people have spoken with the bride, so far to no avail," Lehava Facebook page reported. "We're still trying. We're also talking with the banquet hall. We're not giving up." Yesterday the couple closed themselves off in their home and turned off their telephones.

Lehava published the name and telephone number of the banquet hall where the wedding celebration is to take place. The organization posted an online appeal to supporters to telephone the banquet hall and demand that it cancel the event.

"Explain to [the owners] that their reputation is being ruined and will be destroyed because they are lending their hand to assimilation. Do not threaten!! Just explain why this really hurts the people of Israel!" reads the appeal.

The banquet hall management said yesterday that they have been harassed by numerous callers who mainly cursed them, but some also made threats, so they decided to hire security for Sunday's wedding celebration. The couple informed the banquet hall that they intend to go ahead with it as planned.

The hall issued the following statement: "We, the management of Red Sun, host events for all clients regardless of race, religion or gender. We do our best to run every event so the clients leave happy and satisfied.

"We do not intend to violate our clients' privacy by commenting specifically on a given event. We wish all our customers and all of Israel Mazel Tov, and there should only be celebrations, amen."

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