Israeli police arrest head of anti-coexistence group


TEL AVIV (JTA) — The head of Lehava, a group that opposes Arab-Israeli coexistence and assimilation, was arrested.

Israeli police arrested Benji Gopstein, the group’s chairman, on Tuesday in his West Bank hometown of Kiryat Arba, according to Israeli reports. Nine other Lehava members also were arrested in raids across the country on suspicion of incitement to violence.

The arrests come a day after three Lehava members were charged with vandalizing and setting fire to an Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem last month.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the lawyer for the arson suspects, said the arrests were due to “pressure from leftist politicians,” according to reports.

Lehava opposes intermarriage and joint Jewish-Arab initiatives. Members of the group staged a protest this year opposite a marriage between an Israeli Muslim man and a Jewish woman. Four Lehava members were arrested at the protest.

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