Religious Zionist party Knesset member Simcha Rothman welcomed a decision by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Sunday restricting the ways in which anti-government protesters and anarchists could harass his family during vacation.
Although the ruling did not allow for removal of the protesters, Judge Nae’el Mahana wrote, “I find it necessary to limit the possibility that the protest will take place in an area where the minors of the applicant’s family are observed on that vacation, in order to prevent the possibility of photographing them or publishing their photos in public.”|
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family were hounded by anarchists who even camped out in a field near the hotel in which they were staying, to remain close enough to harass the Netanyahus and the residents of the community who lived in the moshav.
“I’m happy that the court saw fit to draw a clear line that differentiates between freedom to protest and the right to demonstrate – which are very important – and harassment, bullying and harm to the family of an elected official,” Rothman wrote in a tweet following the ruling.
“Even if I believe the line should be moved elsewhere, the very drawing of the line is very important. Civil lawsuits will follow in accordance with the Privacy Protection Law and the judge’s recommendation,” he added.
שמח על כך שבית המשפט מצא לנכון למתוח קו ברור שמבדיל בין חופש המחאה וזכות ההפגנה שחשובות מאוד לבין הטרדה, הצקה ופגיעה במשפחתו של נבחר ציבור.
גם אם אני סבור שיש להעביר את הקו במקום אחר, עצם מתיחת הקו חשובה מאוד.
ההמשך, בתביעות אזרחיות לפי חוק הגנת הפרטיות, בהתאם להמלצת השופט. pic.twitter.com/KLjOACRCF0
— שמחה רוטמן – Simcha Rothman (@rothmar) August 27, 2023
Rothman petitioned the court for a restraining order last Wednesday to prevent some 400 anti-government anarchists whom he accused of persecuting and spying on him.
The lawmaker has become a target for the anarchists because he was one of the architects of the government’s planned judicial reforms.
The court petition was filed after it became known that the anarchists had created a 430-member WhatsApp group called “Hunting Rothman in the Golan Heights” in response to the news that Rothman was vacationing with his family at the Marjrase Nature Reserve.
“Are you in the area? Let’s tell him that fascists like him that destroy democracy are not welcome anywhere! In the skies, on the land or in the sea, and don’t forget to pass on confirmation [of his location] so that we spread this shame to the masses,” anarchists wrote in one of their posts, urging protesters to arrive at the reserve while Rothman was there.
In his petition, Rothman demanded closure of the social media messaging group created to track his movements and those of his family, thus trampling on their privacy.
His attorney later withdrew the petition against the entire group, and instead resubmitted a slimmed-down request for a warrant against three ringleaders of the anarchists’ attempt to hunt down the Rothman family.
In the petition, the attorney described the trio as “members of a persecution group against the applicants who are acting with the aim of stalking and unlawfully harming the applicants as part of their private vacation in the north.”
This petition was also rejected, with the court noting that as a public figure, Rothman was fair game for those who oppose him and eligible for protection only if facing immediate danger.
However, Judge Mahana suggested the lawmaker file a civil case against the protesters, in addition to setting restrictions on how far the anarchists could go in their efforts to harass Rothman and his family.