Left-wing activists opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his judicial reform on Monday infiltrated the offices of the think tank behind the policy and assaulted staff. In the name of democracy.
The Kohelet Forum (kohelet is translated in the Bible as Ecclesiastes) is a conservative religious research institute and think tank that promotes a stronger Jewish identity for the State of Israel.
Its experts lobbied for the judicial reform policies being legislated by the current government. And so that makes it a target for those virulently opposed to judicial reform.
On Monday morning, a young man claiming to be delivering flowers rang the bell at Kohelet’s offices in Jerusalem. The moment he was buzzed in, a small mob that had been hiding nearby burst into the building and began verbally and physically assaulting staff.
Kohelet CEO Meir Rubin said he couldn’t believe how undemocratic these self-proclaimed defenders of democracy were behaving.
In an op-ed for the N12 news portal reacting to the incident, Rubin wrote:
“Freedom of speech is sacred in a democracy, because it guarantees the individual’s ability to form an independent opinion on the issues, to hear and voice criticism and to vote on election day in accordance with his values and worldview. Research institutes are a force multiplier in this context, and those who do not like one or another opinion promoted by the existing institutes are invited to establish their own research institute and promote other opinions.”
He then highlighted the hypocrisy of those saying they are protecting Israel from “fascism” by trying to silence their political opponents.
“It is painfully absurd to, in the name of democracy and equality, break into the offices of a research institute that operates legally to create and disseminate knowledge and ideas, and try to violently silence its staff,” he stressed.
Rubin lamented that this behavior is by no means grassroots, and is being openly encouraged by certain opposition politicians and by left-wing elements in the media.
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