JERUSALEM (JTA) — The leader of an Israeli extremist anti-coexistence group was arrested for allegedly threatening Jewish women in relationships with Arab men.
Benzi Gopstein, leader of the Lehava organization, was arrested late Saturday night following a police raid on his home. His computer, cellphone and documents were confiscated, according to a Ynet report.
On Sunday, The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court remanded him to house arrest.
Fourteen other Lehava members also were detained for questioning “as part of a police investigation on suspicion that they acted to locate and threaten Arab minority members with connections to Jewish young women,” the police said Sunday in a statement. Most were released shortly afterward.
Lehava, which calls for the separation of Jews and Arabs, opposes intermarriage and interdating, as well as joint Jewish-Arab initiatives.
Ynet reported that Gopstein said prior to his Sunday hearing, “They accused me of telling a girl that ‘if she continues to go out with Arabs, bad things will happen to her.’ I didn’t say this, though it’s true, because if she continues to go out with Arabs, bad things will happen to her.”
He added, “No one has accused me of assault” and that his organization works within legal limits.
In August 2015, the police detained and questioned Gopstein after he announced his support for the torching of churches and mosques.