Israel Police announced on Sunday evening that they had detained 27 people who were on their way to the Jerusalem Pride events in suspicion of exhibiting "behavior that could disrupt the peace."
Earlier on Sunday, police arrested three activists from the extremist anti-LGBT group, Lehava, in suspicion that they would attempt to disrupt the events, but the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court ordered to release them after a police spokesperson confessed that there was no suspicion the men had broken the law. The Lehava extremists were given guidance before on how to infiltrate the events, such as wearing colorful clothing and using slang terms popular among the LGBT community.
Among the Lehava activists arrested early on Sunday morning was Moshe Ben-Zikri, who also was detained before last year’s Pride parade and who for the prior two years dressed up as an LGBTQ activist and infiltrated the parade only to start haranguing attendees from the podium.“Unfortunately, the Jerusalem Police have not grasped the principles of freedom of expression. We will ask the court to release Ben-Zikri unconditionally,” Ben-Zikri’s attorney, right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, said in a statement. The arrests came five years after a haredi Orthodox man stabbed to death a marcher, Shira Banki, 16, who was attending the parade in support of her LGBTQ friends. Security at the march was significantly tightened after that attack, and even though the parade was canceled this year due to the coronavirus, 1,200 police officers were assigned to watch over the events.Marcy Oster/JTA contributed to this report.