Israel pretends to be a free country. However, it seems that when things get a little difficult, the authorities prefer to capitulate in the face of threats, rather than live up to their responsibilities.
Last week, Justice Eliezer Rivlin turned down Mazuz’s request to deny Baruch Marzel from officiating as chairman of the ballot committee in Um El-Fahem. Rivlin, head of the Central Elections Committee was exactly right when he said “it was the authorities’ job to keep the peace regardless of those present at the ballot boxes.”
In spite of this, the police decided they were not part of these authorities, those who have a responsibility to actively keep the peace, and Marzel was banned from entering a city in the State of Israel. Israel is now an independent state, but an Israeli citizen can be banned from traveling lawfully around his own country, because of views he harbors. If there is legitimate fear his appearance will cause riots – those who riot need to be arrested and brought to justice. Apparently not in Israel.
Arieh Eldad, National Union Knesset Member, went to Um El-Fahem, as Marzel’s replacement on the ballot committee. Yet, it seems that even an MK cannot be safe in Um El-Fahem, and he had to request a police escort, in order to leave the city safely.
The city’s leadership, however, responded in favor criminal activity, “they tricked us and brought in Eldad instead of Marzel,” said Apu Agbaria, a representative of Hadash. If you do not like what he has to say, or what he stands for – protest, vote, go on strike. Do not, however, try and claim that banning him from entering Um El-Fahem is, in any way, acceptable. If Ahmed Tibi were banned from entering Modi’in, for example, because of fear of rioters, what would the public’s reaction be?