Yoman Geva 460, 1970

Demonstrations Against and in Favor of Amending the Law of Return

1970
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Two protests are being held, a day apart, in front of the Knesset, as part of the dispute over the question Who is a Jew. The protests follow the appeal of Benjamin Shalit to the Israeli Supreme Court, and the intentions to amend the Law of Return so that Jewish Halakha law would increase over the civil law, thus canceling the Supreme Courts ruling. First, a demonstration is held by young people who oppose the amending of the Law of Return, and support the Supreme Court ruling and Benjamin Shalits right to register his children under Jewish nationality. The protesters seek to enter the Knesset building where discussions are underway to amend the Law of Return, following the controversy over the Supreme Courts ruling. During the demonstration, signs are carried, and Dahn Ben-Amotz reads a letter from a Dutch young man who fought in the IDF and whose mother is a Christian. Protesters are beaten by police with batons. Knesset Member Meir Yaari from Mapam exit the Knesset and speak to the demonstrators asking them to demonstrate restraint. A counter-demonstration is held the following day, which includes some 2,500 young people, many of whom are religious and from Bnei Akiva youth movement. The protestors oppose assimilation among jews, and warn of the danger to the Jewish people and its unity, if the Law of Return is not amended, thus not adhering to the Halakha version of who is a Jew. In the demonstration, Knesset members of the National Religious Party (Mafdal) leave the Knesset and approach the protesters, including Moshe-Zvi Neria who is making a speech, Knesset member Tova Sanhadray and Minister of Interior Haim-Moshe Shapira.

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