UK & World News

  • 18 August 2014, 17:33

Weddings Reflect Tensions In Israel and Gaza

A series of weddings in Israel and Gaza have reflected the tensions and hardships in the region.

In Israel, four far-right protesters were arrested at the wedding of a Jewish-born woman who converted to Islam and an Arab Muslim man.

Several hundred protesters demonstrated outside the reception hall in Rishon LeZion, as groom Mahmoud Mansour, 26, married Morel Malka, 23.

Mr Mansour had sought a court order to try to stop the protest from taking place but failed - and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned the demonstrations.

Supporters of the far-right Jewish Lehava group, who oppose the intermarriage of Arab Muslims and Jews, were granted permission to picket the wedding.

They were told not to come within 200 metres of the wedding hall, but four protesters were arrested for failing to follow police instructions, Israel's Ynet News website said.

A counter-demonstration of left-wing protesters was also staged in support of the couple's marriage, attended by 500 guests.

Several hundred police were deployed to keep the two sets of demonstrators apart.

"We live in true coexistence, and I don't really care what people say," Mr Mansour told Israel's Channel 2 ahead of the wedding.

Meanwhile in Gaza, three brides, who lost their homes in the conflict, were married to their grooms in joint ceremonies in the southern town of Rafah.

Organised by the United Nations, the weddings took place at a school which has been used as a shelter for people displaced by the conflict with Israel.

The UN paid for the celebrations and gave each couple presents, including a mattress and clothes.

A five-day ceasefire in the region was due to expire on Monday night.

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