Some 40 concerned citizens marched in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night in protest of the proposed Nakba and loyalty laws.
Earlier in the week, a motion proposing to ban the marking of Nakba Day – the "catastrophe" of Israel's inception – by law, passed its first Knesset reading. The proposal has sparked a heated public and political debate.
The "loyalty law", meant to be an amendment to the Citizenship Act, says that the State has the right to deny citizenship of anyone who fails to pledge their allegiance to the State of Israel. The amendment is up for a Knesset vote next week.
Tamar Glazerman, who organized the march, opened a protest group on Facebook, and its members chose to stage their demonstration in the midst of Tel Aviv's White Night celebration.
All 40 participants marches with their mouths taped shut, to illustrate their point, carrying signs reading "Be afraid," "Nakba law – law of fear," and "Loyalty law or democracy".
'A right, not a privilege' (Photo: Narkis Tepler)
"In a democracy, you can't just shut people up," she told Ynet. "You don’t have to agree with someone to respect his right to mourn, if that what he feels like doing. This is not a complex issue and you don’t have to be a radical leftist to understand people have the right to hold mourning rallies."
Freedom of speech, she added, "is a right, not a privilege. We were hoping to demonstrate that there is still a sane voice. We want to reach as many people as possible. I'm sure that the more people hear about these delusional laws the more they will object to them.
"I opened the Facebook group and over 1,000 people signed up in less than a day. One of the basics of democracy is the right to protest. I hope the High Court of Justice revokes these ridiculous and disturbing motions," she added.
Glazerman said the next step would be a "regular" protest rally, but stresses they are not representing any official group: "These are just people who find these (bills) appalling. It doest matter what your (political) opinion is, every citizen must protest these anti-democratic laws, for their own sake. I just hope this isn’t the last protest we see in Israel."
Daniel Edelson contributed to this report