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Flyer asking Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit why he needs to attend prayers if he has no God. .(Photo by: TOM HATOEL)
State defends greater restrictions on protests near A-G’s house
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
08/28/2019
The High Court has already ruled on past police moves to maintain order with the protests, always defending the right to protest.
The state on Wednesday told the High Court of Justice that further restrictions and a rise in arrests in confronting protesters near Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s house have been necessary to protect him and preserve public order.
 
Protests have continued for over two years near Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva to pressure him to take a stronger stance in the various probes against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
 
At earlier points when the protests were blocking the street and growing beyond police control, the police moved them farther away from Mandelblit’s house, though still nearby.
 
The High Court has already ruled on past police moves to maintain order with the protests, always defending the right to protest and sometimes ordering the police to make changes, but also supporting Mandelblit’s right to privacy and the need to preserve order.
 
With the police taking more aggressive measures with protesters recently, including more arrests, an activist filed a petition against the police and the state.
 
The state’s response on Wednesday said that the latest protests have been rowdier and that protesters have been more actively trying to get physically close to Mandelblit as he walks to synagogue, as well as disobeying police directives.
 
The state said that the change in the protesters’ behavior necessitated stronger measures to maintain order.
 
After two years, the neighbors in the area, who originally remained neutral, are also turning against some of the protests.
 
In contrast, the protesters have gotten additional recent support from Democratic Union party leader Nitzan Horowitz and candidate Ehud Barak.
 
For the last nine years, when Mandelblit took the side of Gabi Ashkenazi during the Harpaz Affair which was part of a dispute between the two regarding power over the defense establishment, Barak has regularly looked for ways to oppose Mandelblit.
 
The protests have become less clear since Mandelblit announced in February that he does intend to indict Netanyahu in Cases 1000, 2000 and 4000. As well, a group of Ethiopian activists have joined the protests to advocate for their community.
 
The protesters still demonstrating because of Netanyahu-related issues are focused on ensuring the indictment goes through. They also want Mandelblit to reverse himself on Case 3000, the Submarine Affair, where he has not treated the prime minister as a suspect.
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