AG to Jerusalem Mayor: You Can’t Limit Freedom of Expression

13/03/2017

In Israel, if you oppose a government policy and really want to make a point, the place to protest is Jerusalem, outside the Knesset or opposite the prime minister’s residence.

Except Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, a member of the ruling Likud party, may not like your demonstration and may impose restrictions that prevent you from holding it.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, NIF’s flagship grantee, has petitioned a local court against the practice after Women Wage Peace were forbidden from setting up a protest tent outside Netanyahu’s residence.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an opinion in the case, demanding that the city rules be changed and insisting that City Hall cannot block the right of citizens to demonstrate. His move effectively ensures that the court will rule to lift the Barkat limitations on freedom to protest.

Barkat is known as a conservative and frequently kowtows to his large ultra-Orthodox constituency. He did not participate in the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last year in which 25,000 people marched.

March 2017