Last week, it was revealed that two right-wing Israeli extremists had threatened to disrupt White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s plan to hold his son’s bar mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem as a way of protesting the Obama administration’s opposition to the expansion of illegal West Bank settlements.
Now AFP reports that the two have been arrested.
JERUSALEM Ã¢â‚¬â€ Two right-wing Israeli activists were arrested on Thursday after they heckled White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as he toured Jerusalem’s Old City, police said.
“Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel were arrested because they insulted the chief of staff of the White House in the Old City,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
One of the right-wingers could be heard yelling “shame on you, you hate Israel” and “traitor,” as the US official was visiting Roman ruins in the Old City’s Cardo area.
Emmanuel, who did a stint as a volunteer in the Israeli army and whose father was born in Jerusalem, is the nemesis of right-wingers who believe he influences White House policy against the interests of the Jewish state.
He is on a generally private visit, to attend his son’s Bar Mitzva, but he also met with Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and delivered an invitation for talks with US President Barack Obama next week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We promise to accompany your sonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bar mitzvah events in Israel,Ã¢â‚¬Â they wrote to Emanuel, Ã¢â‚¬Å“we will make sure to receive you as you deserve to be receivedÃ¢â‚¬â€not with flowers and candy, but with catcalls and disgust at what you represent.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he is worse than Hamas,” Ben Gvir said of Emanuel. “If the kid would come alone to the Wall without his father, we would be happy and we wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t complain. But with all that Rahm Emanuel has done against the People of Israel and Land of Israel, we would have no choice but to demonstrate.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ben Gvir is a spokesman for the Jewish National Front. Last year he led a march in Israel’s largest Arab city that degenerated into violence, and in 2008, he explicitly refused to denounce an attempt to assassinate a Israeli professor who had spoken out against the settlements. Marzel, the leader of the Jewish National Front, was formerly the spokesman for the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach organization was outlawed as a terrorist group in both the United States and Israel.