The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court barred on Sunday four leading participants in the weekly protests near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence from the area after they were arrested on Saturday.
The four were banned from the area for periods of time ranging from 11 to 24 days.
Protest groups criticized the ruling, saying no restrictions had been placed on a far-right activist arrestepd after clashing with protesters at the same demonstration.
The police arrested 30 people in Jerusalem on Saturday – most of them during the protest, although some who police said were among the leaders of the protest were arrested later on. All were released that same night, but five received a summons to Sunday’s hearing in Jerusalem.
The police wanted to bar protest leaders for even longer periods – up to three months – but the court rejected the demand. Daniel Ohana and Hagai Elron were banned from the area for 24 days, and Matti Eliyahu and Ziv Landa were banned for 18 and 11 days, respectively.
Some of the protesters, including Landa, were arrested following a clash with a far-right counter-protester by the name of Moshe Miron, whom Landa is suspected of kicking. Miron has regularly come to the weekly anti-Netanyahu protest at Jerusalem's Paris Square holding a sign reading “leftists are traitors” and shouting similar slogans at protesters.
Usually, police stand between protesters and counter-protesters, but on Saturday night they allowed Miron to stand in the midst of the anti-Netanyahu crowd. At one stage, the two sides clashed and police stood aside for several minutes and declined to intervene. Miron was arrested, but was not restricted in any way after his release.
- Around 30 arrested as thousands protest against Netanyahu in Jerusalem
- High-ranking cop indicted for attacking anti-Netanyahu protester, photographer
- In one Israeli city, suppressing anti-Netanyahu protests is no mistake – it's policy
During the hearing, Landa’s attorney, Gonen Ben Itzhak, asked the police representative, Shlomi Ben-Dor, whether the police would consider it acceptable for someone to walk around holding a sign that saying “the police are traitors,” or “politicians are traitors.” Ben-Dor responded: “I’m not the legal adviser to the police.”
The activists questioned the police's handling of the incident involving Miron, with lawyer Ben Itzhak raising the possibility that police used him to get activists barred from the area. Ben Itzhak suggested the possibility that "he was sent over while undercover cops were sitting with prominent activists, and then they could say, 'see, they were involved in a brawl' and ban them."