Four members of far-right Jewish Lehava group arrested during protest against intermarriage of Mahmoud Mansour and Morel Malcha in Israel

Bride Morel Malcha and groom Mahmoud Mansour and had sought a court order to keep demonstrators away from their wedding

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 19 August 2014 06:32
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Arab Israeli Muslim groom, Mahmoud Mansour, and his Israeli bride Morel Malcha sit on a couch in Mahmoud's family home in the Jaffa district of Tel Aviv on August 17, 2014, ahead of their wedding ceremony.
Arab Israeli Muslim groom, Mahmoud Mansour, and his Israeli bride Morel Malcha sit on a couch in Mahmoud's family home in the Jaffa district of Tel Aviv on August 17, 2014, ahead of their wedding ceremony.

Four far-right Jewish protesters were arrested in Israel on Sunday as they and several hundred other demonstrators picketed a wedding between an Arab Muslim man and a Jewish-born woman who converted to Islam.

The demonstrators from Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land (Lehava), a group which opposes marriage between Arab Muslims and Jews, were given permission by Israel’s high court to stage a picket 200 metres from the hall in Rishon LeZion, where Mahmoud Mansour, 26, and Morel Malcha, 23, had their Islamic wedding.

Tensions in the region have flared following the bloody month-long Gaza war, which is currently being controlled by a five-day ceasefire ending at midnight on Monday.

As the group disseminated the location of the wedding, the event became a national issue. On Sunday, the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin denounced Lehava's plans as an “outrage”.

During the couple's wedding, there was a large police presence outside the venue, where Lehava activists yelled: “death to the Arabs” and sparred with officers. Meanwhile, left-wing demonstrators staged a counter-protest in support of the marriage, holding banners congratulating the couple.

The four who were arrested were accused of failing to follow police orders, the Ynet News website reported.

Prior to his wedding, Mansour had sought a court order at Israel’s high court banning the demonstrations, but failed.

In response, Mansour spent $4,000 (£2,400) on hiring dozens of security guards to protect the couple and their 500 guests, the Guardian reported. Half of the fee was paid by the wedding hall.

“We've been together for five years, but we've never encountered such racism. I always knew there were racists, but as long as you're not affected by it, until you feel it in your own body, you don't know what it is,” Mansour told Haaretz on Sunday.

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