The leader of anti-assimilation group Lehava may be charged with racial incitement, Walla! News reports Wednesday – despite a court ruling declaring the organization’s work legal.
Gopshtain and nine other activists were arrested last December on vague suspicions of “incitement,” which the court threw out in ruling that Lehava’s activities in combating assimilation – which is forbidden by Jewish law – are completely legal.
But the Israel Police has opened an investigation into Gopshtain for racist remarks he and other activists allegedly made, and have already passed along the information to the Jerusalem District Court.
The evidence against Gopshtain apparently includes posts on Facebook, text messages, and other correspondence that police claim show evidence of racial incitement; a Judea-Samaria police District source stated to the news agency that these will be added to a selection of quotes Lehava activists have said to the media.
The suspects are also accused of carrying brass knuckles with them, a fact police indicated is evidence they were ready to assault someone – without detailing who.
“It is sad that the police, who condone inciters enemies of Israel, are actively seeking to prosecute me – someone who is fighting against assimilation,” Gopshtain responded Wednesday. “I represent the Torah of Israel, which taught us the importance of the distinction between Israel and the nations. If a trial is held on the issue, I will turn the discussion to the question of whether resistance to assimilation is ‘racist’ or part of Judaism.”
“It is unfortunate that the police continue to pursue my client over this case, despite a court decision which determined that not every call against assimilation is racism,” Gopshtain’s attorney, civil rights activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, added. “Gopshtain should get a medal for services to the daughters of Israel,” he added, noting that Lehava has been active in keeping Jewish identity alive in Israel and abroad to