'Gay, haredi protests prevent cops from defending Israelis'
Dichter: Police learned from their experience last year.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, REBECCA ANNA STOIL
June 17, 2007 23:20
1 minute read.
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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Thursday's gay pride parade and Sunday's haredi anti-gay protest in Jerusalem have limited the ability of the police to fulfill its everyday obligation of defending Israelis and their property, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told The Jerusalem Post in an interview at his Jerusalem office Sunday.
Dichter said the police learned from their experience with last year's pro- and anti-gay events how to improve their dialogue with the haredim and the Open House that is organizing the parade. He said lessons were learned about how to protect the marchers, but that the event strained an overworked police force.
"The police are ready with thousands of police in Jerusalem," Dichter said. "But it will make it much harder for the police to fulfill its role of defending the citizens and their property."
He called recent incidents of bombs being discovered attached to anti-gay slogans in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood "borderline terrorism." He compared the incidents to the grenade thrown at a Peace Now rally in 1983 and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
"That's crossing the line from protest to harming people," Dichter said. "We have a history of that in Israel."
Asked if police would be ready for Thursday, he said: "Sunday to Thursday is a very long time. In Israel, there are more than 24 hours in a day."