Yisrael Beytenu opens Charlie Hebdo ‘outdoor library’ in Tel Aviv to protest ban

Banning Yisrael Beytenu from distributing copies of French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s “survivors issue” is a violation of its right to freedom of expression, the party said Thursday.

Yisrael Beytenu plans to appeal to the High Court on Sunday, after Central Election Committee chairman Justice Salim Joubran issued an injunction against them doing so.

The party planned to give out the magazines, because the Steimatzky bookstore chain decided to only sell them online, and not in stores, after MK Masoud Gnaim (UAL) said “the country and the [Steimatzky] chain will be responsible for the results” of selling Charlie Hebdo copies, and that doing so would be crossing a red line as far as Israeli Arabs and their leadership are concerned.

Joubran’s ruling came in response to a petition by MK Ahmed Tibi (Ta’al), who wrote that distributing the magazines violates the law against giving gifts as part of an election campaign, and warned that doing so would likely disturb the peace, because it offends Muslims by mocking their religious symbols.

On Thursday, Yisrael Beytenu opened an outdoor library in front of Independence Hall on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, which only had one thing to read: Charlie Hebdo. The party allowed passers-by to read copies of the magazine and sign a petition supporting the party’s appeal to the High Court. Continue reading 

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