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Police Hold Off Protesters As Jewish-Born Woman Marries Muslim Man In Israel

Maral Malka and Mahmoud Mansour tied the knot on Sunday as 200 protesters made clear their opposition outside.

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This is Maral Malka, 23, and Mahmoud Mansour, 26, celebrating their wedding in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, yesterday.

Ammar Awad / Reuters

The marriage of Malka, who was born Jewish, and Mansour, who is Muslim, became a local flashpoint in a country where tensions have been running high throughout the conflict in Gaza.

Reuters reported that Israeli police blocked more than 200 right-wing Israeli protesters from crashing the wedding. They were, according to the report, shouting "death to the Arab".

Police resorted to forming a human shield to keep the protesters out, it was reported. There were four arrests.

According to Reuters, protesters were chanting, "May your village burn down."

Ammar Awad / Reuters

The couple's lawyer had tried to get the protest banned, but could only get an order to keep them 200 metres away.

The group that organised the protest, Lehava, has protested against Jewish-Arab unions in the past, but isn't thought to have turned up to a wedding before.

Mansour told Israeli TV: "We will dance and be merry until the sun comes up. We favour co-existence."

Among the guests was Yael German, Israel's health minister, who said that both the wedding and the protests against it were "an expression of democracy", Reuters reported.

The new Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that "not everyone has to be happy" for the couple, but "everyone should have dignity".

Ammar Awad / Reuters

He said that while people might dispute territory, "incitement to violence and racism has no place in Israeli society."

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