Aggressive protest forces lawmaker out of Tisha b’Av ‘unity’ event

“The people who chased me out underwent brainwashing, the likes of which I’ve never seen,” says Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli.

By World Israel News Staff

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli was forced out of a conference commemorating the somber Tisha b’Av holiday by aggressive protesters who screamed and disrupted the event on Wednesday evening.

Despite reportedly promising the event’s organizers that they would respect the sanctity of the holiday, which marks the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples and other tragic events throughout history, anti-judicial overhaul protesters screamed at and waved their hands and signs inches away from the lawmaker.

Social media footage from the scene shows Chikli surrounded by demonstrators, some of whom held signs reading “shame,” while others followed him out of the the room screaming “Leave!”

Ironically, the conference was titled “Either we unite, or we fall apart.” The event was intended to bring together Jews of different political orientations and levels of religious observance.

“The people who chased me out underwent brainwashing, the likes of which I’ve never seen,” Chikli told Kan News shortly after the brouhaha.

The minister noted that Israel is in a period of high political tensions, citing “all the signs with violent slogans, the calls for civilian rebellion and refusal to serve by former officials, and [former Supreme Court Chief Justice] Aharon Barak, who is fanning the flames.”

Witnesses told Arutz Sheva that the conference’s moderator had attempted to quell the protesters by saying he was “on their side” but pleading with them to allow Chikli to speak.

According to the report, the demonstrators were incensed by the moderator’s comments.

“You’re also a disgrace, you also need to be shunned. You and everyone who agreed to sit next to him should be a pariah,” the protesters reportedly said.

The clip, which went viral on social media, sparked backlash from right-wing Israeli commentators.

Journalist Yinon Magal responded on Twitter, saying it “takes a huge degree of rudeness and lack of awareness to behave [in a manner similar to that] of Tisha B’Av at an event called ‘Unity.'”