Police Refuse Permit for Secular Student Protest in Bnei Brak

College students banned from demostrating in Orthodox Jewish district, days after ultra-rightwing protest went ahead in Arab town.

Police have banned secular university students from protesting in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, days after allowing right-wing Jewish exremists to demonstrate in an Arab town, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.

Students had sought permission to protest proposed legislation to bypass a ruling by the Supreme Court, which overnturned a law that guaranteed funding exclusively to religious students.

students - Emil Salman - November 1 2010
Emil Salman

The demonstration was originally planned to take place on November 2 in Bnei Brak, which lies just east of Tel aviv and is populated almost exclusively by Othodox Jews  - but police refused the students a permit, claiming the protest could cause riots.

Just a few days ago, residents and police clashed violently in Umm al-Fahm after police gave far-right activists permission to march in the predominantly Arab city. Nine people, including four minors, were arrested, and two Knesset members and five police officers were injured.

The right-wingers, led by activists Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Marzel and MK Michael Ben Ari, arrived in the city in armored buses to protest against what they said was the Islamic Movement's support for terrorism.

Local residents and left-wing activists, and MKs Afu Aghbaria and Hanin Zoabi, staged a counter-protest several hundred meters away, separated by a thick cordon of police.

More than 1,000 police officers took part in securing the march and keeping the crowds well apart, at the cost of some NIS 4 million to the taxpayer. Major General Shimon Koren, commander of the Northern District, said the police did not oppose to the staging of rally in any way.