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Ben Gvir backs down after coalition pressure, won’t hold prayer service in Tel Aviv

National security minister wanted to pray in Dizengoff Square after Yom Kippur prayer scuffle

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Police Commander Yoram Sofer present a new proposal to eradicate crime in the Arab sector, in Jerusalem, Aug. 17, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir canceled his plan to hold a prayer rally at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square to protest against activists who had disrupted Yom Kippur services in the city, he announced on Wednesday evening.

The Jewish Power party leader said he changed his plans because of “an announcement by the far-left protest leaders saying they wouldn't repeat the antisemitic activity they led on Yom Kippur.”

“I'm happy the extreme Left understood that there is no place for antisemitism against Jews in the heart of Tel Aviv,” Ben Gvir added. “We only have one Jewish nation where Jews can pray in public spaces whenever and wherever they want.”

Protest organizations had planned to hold their own rally in Dizengoff Square after Ben Gvir’s rally, but announced on Wednesday that they would move the event to Habima Square.

“After a conversation with the residents of the area, and after no answers were received regarding how the dangerous provocation of Minister Ben Gvir will be avoided, the organizers announced the move of the prayer event for the peace of democracy from Dizengoff Square to HaBima Square,” they stated.

Ben Gvir announced his plan to hold a prayer rally after scuffles broke out at public Yom Kippur services in Tel Aviv over the issue of gender segregation.

The decision was met with disagreement from numerous members of the coalition and even members of Ben Gvir’s own political party.

Fellow Jewish Power member Almog Cohen expressed reservations about the event, while Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri said, “Let them pray in the synagogues; we don't need unnecessary wars and we don't need another problem.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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