Driver who swerved to threaten anti-government protesters indicted

Elad resident, 26, charged with reckless driving and making threats against group of Ben-Gurion University students protesting coalition’s plans to weaken judiciary

A protest in Beersheba where a driver was suspected of threatening demonstrators with his car, January 10, 2023 (Social media)
A protest in Beersheba where a driver was suspected of threatening demonstrators with his car, January 10, 2023 (Social media)

A man arrested after swerving threateningly toward a group of anti-government protesters in Beersheba last week was indicted by police on Sunday for reckless driving and making threats.

The 26-year-old resident of Elad was arrested after he drove his car onto a sidewalk where dozens of Ben-Gurion University students were holding a protest against controversial government plans to curb the judiciary’s powers.

According to police, after swerving toward the protesters, the suspect “stopped [the car] in front of them in a dangerous manner while shouting.”

Police requested that the suspect be kept in custody until the end of judicial proceedings, but the judge released him to house arrest.

“The driver came to the curb and started to shout at us,” Ben-Gurion University student Daniel Guy-Tsabary said after the incident. “He already had two wheels on the sidewalk. I hit the car so he would stop, and at that moment he got out and approached me threateningly.”

After the incident, police clarified that the man had not intended to hit the group, but rather to threaten them.

The driver yelled that the protesters were “anarchists” and “Ashkenazis,” one protester told the Ynet news site. Ashkenazi Jews of European extraction are often viewed in Israel as a liberal elite.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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