Ben-Gvir removed by police from Western Wall
Photo: Noam Moskowitz

Municipality: Emanuel bar mitzvah a routine event

Jerusalem Municipality responds to rightist's petition against prayer for White House chief of staff's son, says no business license required

The Jerusalem Municipality over the weekend responded to a High Court petition against the bar mitzvah celebration of Zach Emanuel, the son of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and defined it as "a routine event taking place at this compound on a daily basis."


The petition was filed by extreme right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who argued that the bar mitzvah should not take place at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem, as the place is allegedly being operated without the required permits.


The municipality said in response that according to information received from the East Jerusalem Development company, all the event includes is a prayer in honor of the coming-of-age ritual and that it does not require a business license, as Ben-Gvir claims.


The municipality noted that apart from an expected prayer, the event would not include any components requiring a business license, such as catering services, music, etc. It stressed that prayer events are held at the Western Wall plaza on a daily basis and do not require a license.

Zach Emanuel (R) and his father at Western Wall last Thursday (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)


The municipality noted that the Emanuel family indeed decided to hold the event at the Robinson's Arch compound rather than at the Western Wall compound, but that this compound should be seen as part of the Western Wall complex for bar mitzvah-related prayers.


'We'll celebrate without his father'

The municipality concluded its response with a request to deny Ben-Gvir's petition. The rightist said in response, "I am happy to spoil Rahm Emanuel's celebration. As far as we are concerned, it's important that he understands he is not welcome in Israel."


Ben-Gvir repeated his claim that Emanuel "is hostile, because he works for Jerusalem's division and pressures Israel. He should celebrate the event modestly, without the original plan to have catering services and music."


He offered to host an alternative bar mitzvah ceremony for 13-year-old Zach Emanuel, "with catering services and music, but without his father."


Ben-Gvir and other right-wing activists arrived at the Western Wall plaza last week and waited for Emanuel, who arrived in the area with his son. Police officers warned Ben-Gvir that they would arrest him should he chant slogans against Emanuel.


The rightist said in response, "It's my right to protest against anyone who seeks to give away the Western Wall and incites against Israel. I'll file a personal complaint against any policeman."


After he and the activists chanted slogans against Emanuel and US President Barack Obama, police forces grabbed Ben-Gvir and pushed him on the floor. "You won't shut me up," he shouted. "He is an enemy of Israel."


פרסום ראשון: 05.30.10, 08:19
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