Israeli protesters attacked again in Tel Aviv

President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yair Lapid have all condemned yesterday's violence against anti-government demonstrators.

al-monitor Protesters crouch down as Israeli police use water cannons during clashes at a demonstration against the Israeli prime minister outside his official residence in Jerusalem, early on July 22, 2020. Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images.

Topics covered

benny gantz, benjamin netanyahu, reuven rivlin, israeli right wing, israeli politics, protests, demonstrations, tel aviv

Jul 29, 2020

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned yesterday's incident of violence against anti-government demonstrators. Netanyahu stated July 29, "There is no place for violence for any reason." Still, he added that threats against him and against his family should be prevented, saying, “At the same time, there is no place for incitement and threats of murder, implicit and explicit, against me or my family.”

The protesters were demonstrating outside the Tel Aviv home of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana. The demonstration was organized after reports emerged that Ohana had pressured police to crack down on anti-Netanyahu demonstrators. Five anti-Netanyahu demonstrators were injured and hospitalized after a group of people attacked them with clubs and glass bottles.

At least three other violent incidents have taken place during recent demonstrations outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. But the level of violence in Tuesday night’s attack shocked many. According to reports, a group of people beat demonstrators with clubs while others hit them with glass bottles and chairs and sprayed them with mace. The police reportedly suspect the attackers are far-right militants. This afternoon, the police arrested three men on suspicion of involvement in the attacks.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the violent attack showed the divisions in Israeli society. “Baseless hatred has eroded, and continues to erode, the people of Israel, whose true resilience is in their unity. The attackers of the demonstrators must be caught and punished. No one will silence protests in Israel for as long as we are here,” he tweeted.

Opposition chair Yair Lapid blamed Netanyahu’s "incitement" for the attack, stating, “The violence and blood spilled yesterday in Tel Aviv is on the hands of Netanyahu and his messengers. One who sows incitement will receive blood in return. Calling protesters spreaders of disease and inciting against civilians who protest is leading Israel into a civil war."

Joining the chorus of condemnations, President Reuven Rivlin warned against political violence. “I would like to say clearly in light of the violent developments in the last day: The murder of a demonstrator protesting in the State of Israel and the murder of an Israeli prime minister aren’t imaginary. Alas for our democracy if a man’s hand is raised against his brother.”

Rivlin was referring not only to growing attacks against demonstrators, but also to recent threats against Netanyahu over social networks. Netanyahu himself insisted today that an exhibit at the Tel Aviv Rabin Square mocking him should be considered a threat. The pop-up exhibit depicts a life-size statue of Netanyahu enjoying a lavish meal by himself in a tableau of Jesus’ Last Supper.

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