Middle East

Arrests at protests against Israeli mixed wedding

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Media captionOne man protesting at the wedding said it was "time the Muslims leave Israel"

Four far-right Jewish protesters have been arrested at the wedding of a Jewish-born woman who converted to Islam and an Arab Muslim man in Israel.

Several hundred demonstrators rallied outside the reception hall in Rishon LeZion on Sunday, amid high security.

The groom, Mahmoud Mansour, had sought a court order to try to stop the protest from taking place but failed.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has condemned the demonstrations against the couple's union.

Supporters of the far-right Jewish Lehava group, who oppose the intermarriage of Arab Muslims and Jews, were granted permission to picket the wedding as long as they did not come within 200 metres of the wedding hall.

But four protesters were arrested for failing to follow police instructions, Israel's Ynet News website reported.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some of the far-right Lehava members were kept back behind bars by Israeli police
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A face off outside the wedding hall, as left-wing supporters turned up to show solidarity with the couple

A counter-demonstration of left-wing protesters was also staged in support of the couple's marriage, with hundreds of police deployed to keep the two sets of demonstrators apart.

The bride, Morel Malka, and her husband invited 500 guests to celebrate their marriage on Sunday. Ms Malka, 23, had converted to Islam ahead of the ceremony.

"We live in true coexistence, and I don't really care what people say," Mr Mansour, 26, told Israel's Channel 2 ahead of the wedding,

President Rivlin has been quoted by Israeli media describing the Lehava demonstrators as "rodents gnawing under the shared democratic and Jewish foundation of Israel".

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