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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Right-wing activists headed by MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir are planning to stage "Jewish pride parades" in 15 Arab towns across the country as a response to the gay pride parade that is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem this week.
"There has to be one rule for everyone," said the organizers. "Freedom of expression and the right to march are not only for the people of the [gay community's] Open House and the far Left. We have the right to march and review the illegal construction in the cities and the towns and, of course, to hold marches with Israeli flags."
The activists cited a previous decision by the High Court of Justice allowing them to hold a demonstration with Israeli flags in Umm el-Fahm, saying, "The right of the people of the abomination parade to march through the streets of Jerusalem is our very same right to march in Sakhnin and Lakiya."
If the marches would be forbidden by police, the activists warned, they would appeal the decision to the High Court of Justice.
The activists said they would also hold a small demonstration outside Jerusalem's Open House for Pride and Tolerance on the day of the parade.
Last week, Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, head of the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit's Rabbinic Court, issued a directive to his community to refrain from demonstrating against the parade.
According to Israel Radio, Weiss instructed the Eda Haredit rabbis to ignore the parade altogether.
Open House sources told Israel Radio that Weiss's instructions come in light of an agreement they had reached with the haredi leaders.
However, despite the instructions, posters calling for demonstrations against the parade were put up in Jerusalem's haredi neighborhoods.
Eda Haredit sources told the radio station that right-wing groups were apparently using the posters in order to try and incite violence.
Last year, several thousand people marched in central Jerusalem to celebrate gay pride while ultra-Orthodox groups stationed nearby mourned the rally's passage through the Holy City.
However, the annual parade, plagued by violent protests in previous years, passed without incident, despite Marzel and a handful of haredi protesters hanging banners in Paris Square and yelling slogans at participants.
Abe Selig contributed to this report