Far-right Israeli activists protests Jerusalem Christmas event

Jas Chana

(JTA) — A group of far-right Jewish activists protested outside Jerusalem’s YMCA over an event they believed encouraged Jewish children to decorate Christmas trees.

Members of the extreme right, anti-Arab assimilation group Lehava protested a Christmas tree decorating event– intended for Jerusalem’s Christian population– which they claimed was targeting Jewish children.

“The appeal was in Hebrew this year, and meant for all of Jerusalem’s children, especially the Jewish ones,” said a Lehava member of the event on Sunday night, according to Haaretz.

The group gathered outside Jerusalem’s YMCA building chanting “The Arabs won’t defeat us with knifes, and the Christians won’t buy us with presents,” Israel National News reported. “Jews want a hanukkiah [menorah], not a fir tree,” the group shouted.

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Lehava leader Benzi Gopstein was reportedly present at the protest.

“It is inconceivable that at a time when there are daily attacks in Jerusalem, a gathering is held that is entirely an attempt to convert Jews,” Gopstein said at the event, according to Haaretz.

Lehava members have a reputation for causing controversy. In August, they protested against the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. Last year, they also protested against a marriage between an Arab man and a Jewish woman.

In October, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced he was considering outlawing the organization for inciting violence, Haaretz reported.

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