Hundreds of residents of Or Yehuda who arrived on Wednesday for a scheduled rally in honor of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit were disappointed to discover it had been canceled by the municipality, which explained that the organizers were planning to debase the prime minister.
The rally had been organized by a local political activist, Efi Maimon, who took part in the march for Shalit and decided to hold an event in the central city because the march was not scheduled to pass through it.
Maimon said he had gone to the police in order to obtain a permit for the event, where he was told to first obtain the municipality's permission.
"I spoke with the city's security officer about it, and he gave oral consent. Meanwhile I began to prepare for the rally. I printed flyers and distributed ads all around the city calling on the residents to support the family," he said.
But then, on Monday evening, the municipality called to tell him the rally had not been approved. "I didn't understand why until now," Maimon said.
"I couldn't announce the cancelation by then and scores of people arrived, some of them old and frail. They were very annoyed and disappointed at the cancelation, because we really wanted to support the family."
Municipality spokeswoman Ronit Simon said the security officer had informed city officials that the rally had been organized by Maimon, and that it would include political subtext "which borders on slandering the prime minister and his policies".
"Or Yehuda Municiplaity sees a real need to help and strengthen the Shalit family and not involve politics," she said. "Our hearts are with Aviva and Noam Shalit and Or Yehuda's residents are unified in a prayer for Gilad's return."