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Organizers claim stickers praising extremists at rally handed out by ‘provocateurs’

Organizers of a right-wing protest to support the government’s judicial overhaul said that stickers praising Jewish terrorists and former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin that were handed out at the rally came from “provocateurs.”

At the Thursday night protest in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, many participants could be seen donning stickers that Jewish terrorists such as Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron in 1994; Amiram Ben Uliel, who is in prison for the 2015 deadly firebombing of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma; extremist rabbi Meir Kahane; and Rabin’s killer Yigal Amir “were right.”

However, organizers claimed that the stickers were distributed “by provocateurs that came to harm the rally and defame the masses of right-wing protesters who took part and the entire right.”

The statement Friday from organizers MK Avichai Bar and Berele Crombie to the Srugim website said that the stickers bore the name of the “Rightist” organization, but that group had nothing to do with them.

“So someone with a clear interest chose to use the name of the group to sully the good name of the protesters. The conclusion is clear,” the statement said blaming the left and referencing Avishai Raviv, a radical right-wing activist who became a Shin Bet mole in the 1980s and 90s.

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עכשיו מההפגנה למען המהפכה המשפטית בירושלים. בהפגנה מפוזרים סטיקרים של ״יגאל עמיר צדק״ ו״כהנא צדק״. לא ברור מי עומד מאחורי הסטיקרים המוכנים

— בר שם-אור Bar Shem-Ur (@Bar_ShemUr) September 7, 2023

After the assassination of Rabin in 1995, Raviv was accused of having known of killer Amir’s plans to murder the prime minister and of failing to inform the Shin Bet in advance. Raviv was tried but found not guilty.

The statement said they were looking for “witnesses who saw the provocateurs so that we can file a police complaint.”

Despite trying to distance themselves from the stickers, dozens of participants were pictured holding them up, sticking them to their clothes and on walls.

Posters saying “Kahane was right” have long been a feature at right-wing rallies and several people were carrying flags of his banned Kach group.

Right-wing Israelis, some with a flag showing the symbol of the banned Kach party, attend a rally in support of the government’s planned judicial overhaul outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on September 7, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Thousands of government supporters rallied Thursday, encouraging the coalition to continue its push to weaken the judiciary ahead of crucial High Court of Justice hearings on the divisive judicial overhaul.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and other ministers at the protest warned the High Court against striking down part of the coalition’s legislative package after the hearings, with Smotrich telling Chief Justice Esther Hayut that she had better not “dare” to overturn the law.

There were no official turnout figures, but some 10,000 people were estimated to attend the protest, lower than at previous pro-government demonstrations and far lower than the mass anti-overhaul rallies held in Tel Aviv every week.

Many of the demonstrators carried signs with pictures of Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, Hayut and former prime minister Ehud Barak, with a caption saying “the ruling elite.”

Others held signs that read “The Supreme Court won’t decide over the [will of the] people.”

Right-wing Israelis, one carrying a sign showing Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and the slogan “The ruling elite,” attend a rally in support of the government’s planned judicial overhaul, outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on September 7, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Several protesters dressed as bananas, in an apparent attempt to portray the country as a banana republic where the government has no say. Supporters of the overhaul argue that the court has usurped power from elected officials.

The rally came ahead of a September 12 High Court hearing on petitions against the reasonableness law — part of the government’s judicial overhaul package — which bars courts from intervening in government and ministerial decisions based on their “reasonableness.” Later, on September 28, a separate hearing will be held on petitions against a law shielding prime ministers from forced recusal.

Both pieces of legislation are amendments to Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws, none of which the High Court has ever voided. The process for legislating Basic Laws is the same as other bills in Israel’s unicameral parliament, with no special majority needed.

Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government’s judicial overhaul outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on September 7, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

“Nullifying a Basic Law is a deviation from all your authority and will be the end of democracy,” Smotrich, who heads the far-right Religious Zionism party, said at Thursday’s protest.

“I want to call from here to the woman who sits in the office right behind us, the president of the Supreme Court, Esther Hayut: Don’t you dare invalidate Basic Laws. The responsibility is on you,” he added.