The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s news as it unfolded.
The Israel Defense Forces says an officer detained at a protest Tuesday has been released.
The officer, with the rank of captain, was detained by police during an anti-judicial overhaul protest in central Israel today. His rank allows him to attend political rallies so long as he does not wear a uniform or gear marking him as a servicemember, which he did not, the army says.
While rallies against the overhaul in Israel are ending, in New York, Israeli expats and allies are keeping the flame alive outside the Israeli consulate.
Around 200 people are demonstrating from a cordoned off area across from the consulate on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. The crowd is made up of both Israelis and non-Israeli US Jews.
Waving signs and flags, the mostly older crowd chants “Yariv Levin, Israel is not Poland,” “democracy or rebellion,” and “shame” in Hebrew.
— Gili Getz #SaveMasaferYatta (@giligetz) July 11, 2023
Among the protesters are a group wearing the distinct red hooded robes made famous by dystopian work “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and adopted by anti-overhaul protesters.
????In front of the Israeli consulate in New York pic.twitter.com/KlV1v1PCn2
— Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي???? (@NTarnopolsky) July 11, 2023
Moran Zer Katzenstein, a leader of the Building an Alternative women’s protest group in Israel, is also in the crowd as part of a visit to connect with Israeli activists abroad.
Speakers urge continued support from the Biden administration, due to fears police will more violently crack down on demonstrators in Tel Aviv after the departure of the city’s moderate police chief.
Protest leaders claim spontaneous rallies broke out throughout the day in ex-pat communities in cities around the world, including in the US, Europe and Australia.
Police have managed to disperse all but a few dozen of the thousands of protesters in Tel Aviv, spelling the quickly approaching end for Tuesday’s mass rallies.
The few remaining protesters continue to rally from the sidewalks as traffic on Kaplan Street opens up again, the Ynet news site reports.
Footage shared by Channel 12 news shows an officer punching a protester in the head during attempts to clear people off roads.
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) July 11, 2023
An army officer with the rank of captain was detained by police during an anti-judicial overhaul protest in central Israel today, the Israel Defense Forces says.
The officer was not wearing his uniform or was otherwise identifiable as an officer during the protest, the IDF says.
IDF troops up to the rank of lieutenant colonel, which is above captain, are allowed to take part in political protests, provided they are not wearing their uniform or are identifiable as servicemembers.
Police earlier said 77 people were arrested during the day-long demonstrations.
Police say they have arrested a suspect who allegedly rammed into an officer, lightly injuring him, during the anti-judicial overhaul protest in the southern city of Beersheba earlier.
The suspect, a 24-year-old resident of the nearby Bedouin city of Rahat, is being held at the Beersheba police station.
Police say the suspect will be brought before a local court tomorrow to request an extension of his remand.
Scuffles are breaking out in Tel Aviv as police, including officers on horseback, attempt to clear protesters off roads. As cops try to push crowds back, some leave peacefully but others tussle with police, amid frequent claims of excessive force.
In one area, a large bonfire is seen burning at the center of an intersection, as hundreds crowd around. It is extinguished a short time later.
The protesters are continuing to attempt to reach the Ayalon freeway, Channel 12 news reports.
In Karkur, protesters have dispersed, but are making their way to a local police station, where they will likely rally for the release of any protesters detained during the demonstration, the Ynet news site reports.
Protests are also taking place at police stations in Tel Aviv and Ramle, according to the Brothers and Sisters in Arms group.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has reportedly told associates that he is pleased with police conduct over Tuesday, claiming that cops did not use excessive force but just the right amount.
“I didn’t see any police violence, but the use of reasonable force against lawbreakers who attacked police, broke the law, blocked and prevented emergency vehicles and ambulances from getting to hospitals,” Channel 12 news quotes Ben Gvir, who oversees the police.
He adds that while he was mostly happy, “there are areas for improvement,” seemingly referring to outgoing police chief Ami Eshed’s role in managing police deployments.
Ben Gvir has sought to remove Eshed for what he sees as a too-light hand against protesters.
Some 2,000 protesters in Beersheba have peacefully dispersed after blocking the entrance to the southern city and other main intersections for the last few hours.
The protesters, via megaphone, thank police for their cooperation and lack of any violence toward them tonight, while vowing to return to the streets on Saturday evening for regular weekly protests, in order “to fight for Israel’s democracy.”
A police officer is lightly hurt after a car hit him and then fled during the anti-judicial overhaul protest in Beersheba.
According to police, the officer signaled to a car to stop at a temporary roadblock near the protest, but the driver continued driving, hitting him.
The officer is taken to the nearby Soroka hospital for minor injuries.
Police meanwhile have launched searches for the vehicle that hit the officer.
Rock musician Aviv Geffen tells Channel 12 news that he was manhandled by cops as he is seen leaving police custody while walking with his teenage son Dylan after being briefly detained.
“I didn’t do anything, the cop pushed me forcefully,” he tells the channel.
His son calls it a “violent arrest.”
Police tell the station that the celebrity was in the middle of a group scuffling with police and as tensions rose, he pushed an officer, who brought him to the side of the protest in order to “calm down.”
Water cannons are being deployed against protesters in Tel Aviv and Karkur, according to protest organizers and media accounts.
Police in Tel Aviv use the spray trucks to disperse a group of people trying to make their way into the Ayalon freeway, pushing them back up toward the surface roads where the main protest is taking place.
In Beersheba, anti-judicial overhaul protesters march from the entrance to the southern city down Rager Street, and block traffic at a main intersection.
Police are attempting to divert traffic in other directions, and at this stage, are not attempting to disperse the protesters.
Protesters in Tel Aviv briefly manage to run onto the Ayalon highway, but are pushed back by police, including officers on horseback. In one spot along the Hashalom exit, a group of about 30 protesters face off with some 10 cops standing on the shoulder of the highway.
Overhead, large fireworks illuminate the night sky, as thousands crowd onto the Hashalom bridge spanning the freeway.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets out a picture of a headline from the Makor Rishon news outlet claiming “leftist protesters blocked ambulances, cancer patients and the disabled,” accompanying a news article collecting various stories of people or medical treatment being delayed by protests.
The tweet is Netanyahu’s first response to the protests.
The headline he shares, however, writes a check that the accompanying article can barely cover. While people were undoubtedly delayed during the protests throughout the day, its claims of protesters keeping the disabled and cancer patients from treatment is based on accounts from two relatives of two of the right-wing newspaper’s journalists who had to sit in traffic.
FakeReporter, an Israeli group that fact-checks online claims, says that earlier messages sent out by Likud politicians and activists claiming massive delays by ambulances are based on fictitious accounts, after checking with Magen David Adom.
אזהרת פייק ????
זיהינו פרסום שקרי שצובר תאוצה ברשת על אישה שנפטרה לכאורה באמבולנס שהתעכב בגלל ההפגנות.
העובדות: מבדיקה שנעשתה עם מד״א לא מוכר אירוע כזה.
מפיצי השקר המרכזיים: פעילי הליכוד יגאל מלכה ואורלי לב; ערוץ ״חדשות ישראל בטלגרם״
הפיצו כדי שנעצור את הפייק! pic.twitter.com/36YbHv4FrW
— פייק ריפורטר | FakeReporter (@FakeReporter) July 11, 2023
More than 2,000 anti-overhaul protesters are marching at the entrance to the southern city of Beersheba.
The protesters marched down the 406 highway and back, and are now sitting down at the city’s entrance junction, singing and shouting “Democracy!”
One protester, Binyamin, says police have been cooperating well with the protest leaders this evening. “There hasn’t been any violence here,” he says.
He says it isn’t the largest protest seen in the southern city, recalling the late March night Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was fired, sparking mass nationwide demonstrations.
Police meanwhile are directing the protesters to another area, without any force being used.
While the largest anti-government protest is taking place in Tel Aviv, smaller demonstrations are taking place at major intersections elsewhere.
In Karkur, south of Haifa, two people are reported detained at a protest.
In Ra’anana, protesters have gathered and begun lighting flares, the Ynet news site reports.
Footage from the protest being shared on social media appears to show rock musician Aviv Geffen being detained at a major anti-government protest at Kaplan street in Central Tel Aviv.
A video shows Geffen calmly being led away by three plainclothes officers, tailed by a crowd yelling shame.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 11, 2023
Geffen, among Israel’s most popular rock stars, has become a fixture of the protest movement opposed to the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary.
The EU is following the controversy over the judicial shakeup “closely,” an EU official tells The Times of Israel.
“We welcomed the launching of the national dialogue in March under the auspices of the president of Israel, and we call on all parties to resume the dialogue,” the official continues, stressing the importance of a process that is inclusive and leads to compromise.
“Israel is a close partner of the EU,” adds the official, saying “relations are based on shared values, such as democracy, rule of law, including an independent judiciary, and human rights. It is important that these values are preserved.”
Weighing in on the advancement of the first piece of the coalition’s legislation to overhaul the judiciary, a White House National Security Council spokesperson says again urges the Israeli government to only pass far-reaching judicial reforms that have broad support and preserve Israel’s democratic institutions.
It is the second time today that the Biden administration has offered comment on the unrest in Israel surrounding the judicial overhaul, after urging the government to respect the rights of protesters hours earlier.
“As the administration has said, both US and Israeli democracy are built on strong institutions, checks and balances, and an independent judiciary,” an NSC spokesperson says in the latest statement. “The president has said consistently, both privately and publicly, that fundamental reforms like this require a broad basis of support to be durable and sustained.”
“The president has been clear he hopes Prime Minister Netanyahu will work to find a genuine compromise,” the statement adds.
“We continue to urge a consensus-based approach towards judicial reform, a point the president underscored again this past weekend.”
Thousands of protesters stream toward Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, a main focus of the rallies that saw clashes between police and demonstrators earlier today.
Elana Resnick, who moved to Israel from Los Angeles, says she believes the protests are sending a message to those who can make a difference.
“This is the one hope for democracy in the Middle East, and it’s crumbling. I think it’s important to share our views and try our hardest to protect what we believe in,” she says.
Janessa Goldberg, who moved to Israel from Chicago 12 years ago tomorrow, says they have been coming to the protests against the judicial overhaul on a regular basis.
“Because of the vote yesterday things are more imminent,” she says, referring to the Knesset’s first reading of a bill to curtail judicial oversight.
“I believe it will make a difference. In March, [the demonstrations] slowed [the overhaul] down, and it is gaining a lot of international awareness,” Goldberg says.
In Jerusalem, several thousand people have marched from the Supreme Court to the Knesset. Army Radio puts the number of participants at 5,000.
Protesters have also gathered at Ra’anana junction, Tzemach junction, in Beersheba, among other locations.
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai gives a televised statement praising the force for its handling of today’s mass demonstrations against the judicial overhaul.
“We succeeded in safeguarding the right to protest and balancing between the freedom to protest and freedom of movement as much as possible,” he says,
He also denies charges of excessive force while thanking officers for working “to safeguard the right to protest” during the months-long demonstrations.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says calls by military reservists to refuse to show up for reserve duty over the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary are “a reward for our enemy.”
“The strength of the IDF rested then and rests today on the unity of its ranks… from the tank loader and signalman to the division commander,” Gallant says at an event at the 146th Reserve Armored Division, marking 50 years since the Yom Kippur War.
“Even today, the key to success in our missions lies in the unity of our ranks,” he says.
Gallant says the “calls that are being heard these days encouraging refusal and halting the volunteering of reservists threaten the unity of the ranks, are dangerous, and are a reward for our enemy.”
“I call on public figures from the right and the left, leave politics out of the army,” he continues.
“Refusal harms the IDF. Refusal harms the defense establishment. Refusal harms Israel’s security,” Gallant tells the troops at the event.
“We must all condemn refusal or calls for refusal, and remember very well that we all have one destiny, we are brothers, and the IDF is all of ours,” Gallant says.
“We have no other army to rely on and we have to take care to keep it united and leave it out of any dispute,” he adds.
Protesters gather at Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, the site of the main weekly demonstration against the judicial overhaul, after rallying there earlier today and at other sites in the coastal city and across Israel.
תחנה אחרונה להיום: קפלן
נכון לשעה 20:05 pic.twitter.com/geci7Q3tXu
— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) July 11, 2023
Waving US and Israeli flags, protesters rally in front of the US embassy branch office in Tel Aviv, singing, chanting and shouting raucously.
Many hold signs urging the Biden administration to ratchet up its pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the judicial overhaul, such as “Israel has gone off the rails,” “international pressure please” and “save us USA.” Some signs urge US President Joe Biden to withhold US aid to Israel until Netanyahu halts his judicial reforms.
Noa, 48 from Tel Aviv, says the US can give Israel an ultimatum.
Another protestor named Keren says American Jews can also help.
“Their leaders can speak out, they can put pressure on the Biden administration and give money to the protestors,” she says.
As hundreds of anti-overhaul demonstrators rally outside the US embassy branch office in Tel Aviv, the White House urges Israeli authorities “to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly.”
“It is clear there is significant debate and discussion in Israel on the proposed plan. Such debates are a healthy part of a vibrant democracy,” a National Security Council spokesperson says.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Issues in the Arab Community, saying his government wants to further integrate Arab Israelis and address surging violent crime.
“We want full integration of the Arab community in Israeli society,” he says after the meeting. “We want to narrow the gaps [between Jewish and Arab Israelis] and achieve a full integration of the Arab community in Israel.”
The committee decided on the establishment of a subcommittee, which will also be chaired by Netanyahu, to fight against crime in the Arab community in Israel.
“Crime makes the lives of Arab Israeli citizens miserable and it is a national problem,” he says.
The subcommittee will decide, among other things, on the possible deployment of the Shin Bet alongside the police.
According to the Abraham Initiatives, an anti-violence monitoring group, 117 Arabs have been killed in homicides since the start of the year. With the latest killing today in the northern Arab village of Jatt, this year’s toll has already passed the 2022’s total of 116.
The ministerial committee, which was established last month, met at Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem and was chaired by the premier himself.
Other issues discussed at the meeting include the accessibility of mortgages for Arab citizens, the improvement of their Hebrew language skills, budget allocations for Arab employment and welfare.
The committee has come under criticism for including 18 Jewish ministers, among them far-right leaders Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, but only one Arab official.
The Israel Airports Authority says the mass demonstration outside Ben Gurion Airport did not interfere with operations there, with all scheduled flights departing except for one due to a technical problem.
The authority says in a statement that 71,707 travelers have passed through the airport today as of 7 p.m.
The worst of the airport crowding is over, reporters at Terminal 3 say.
“There was real concern for loss of life,” Channel 12 reports, but the crowds have thinned down, “with the protesters likely moving on … to tonight’s main protests on Kaplan Street” in Tel Aviv.
Police say they have made 7 arrests at the airport for incidents of public disturbance.
Opponents of the judicial overhaul rally outside the US embassy branch in Tel Aviv, as part of today’s mass demonstrations.
In a statement, protesters urge US President Joe Biden to “continue to stand with the Israeli protesters who are tirelessly fighting for Israeli democracy.”
“At this critical juncture, Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul poses a grave threat to Israel’s democratic principles, which are values shared by both the United States and Israel,” they add.
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai dismisses concerns of overcrowding in the cordoned-off protest area at Ben Gurion Airport.
“This is a misrepresentation,” he says in an interview with the Kan public broadcaster. “Whoever is complaining about overcrowding can go to the right or left.”
Meanwhile, police say that 71 people have now been arrested today during the protests, 45 of whom have been released.
Anti-overhaul activists in New York say they equipped travelers to Israel with protest gear before flights last night so they could join the rally at Ben Gurion Airport upon arrival.
The activists say they met with Israelis headed to Israel on four different flights setting out from JFK and Newark airports, giving them flags, signs, whistles and shirts.
Other members of the expat activist group UnXeptable did the same for travelers flying to Israel from other locations in the US and Europe.
“They say they won’t let the protesters enter the airport, but we prepared a surprise for them,” says US organizer Shany Granot-Lubaton. “If they don’t let us in through the door, we will come in through the window.”
Protesters break through cordoned-off sections to fully block transit along a portion of Ben Gurion Airport’s internal access road, leading from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 and the long-term parking area.
Police flank protesters on the side closer to Terminal 3, preventing the crowd from expanding toward the terminal’s entrance.
The road leading to Terminal 3 has also been blocked.
Inside the terminal, planes are taking off and arriving as usual, Channel 12’s Yollan Cohen reports from Terminal 3.
“But although the police are saying over and over that there is no overcrowding [outside the teminal], we are seeing the overcrowding with our own eyes… We see thousands standing crowded together all along the ground floor [outside] level. We see overcrowding outside the railway station, inside the railway station. Protesters again and again warning of disaster, nothing less, and pleading with police to enlarge the protest area, but the police are refusing to do so.”
Protesters continue to complain about the overcrowded conditions in the designated protest area outside Ben Gurion Airport, as the rally continues to swell with demonstrators arriving by train.
Over 10,000 protesters are now at the airport, Channel 12 news estimates.
“This is becoming very dangerous,” says the network’s reporters. “We’re on the way to something that began as a protest but that could — and we’re being careful here — could end in disaster.”
The police have allowed the protesters to block the road, to alleviate some of the crowding.
“People are being trampled upon,” two protesters say.
Police are barring people who have gotten off the trains from coming out of the station, the TV report says.
In response to the concerns of crowding, police say there is more room at an area they cordoned off nearby.
Shlomi Sagi, a police spokesman, urges the protesters “to act responsibly” and move to areas designated for them that are not overcrowded.
His Channel 12 interviewer tells Sagi that there are no police officers at the key places where they are needed at the airport to direct people to those safer areas.
From the protests, Channel 12 interviews a woman who says, simply, “There is no room to move.”
The Channel 12 studio anchor, veteran Oded Ben-Ami, notes that cellular phone coverage is overwhelmed by the crowds, and implores Sagi to ask his commanders to use their communications systems to send word to the police at the airport so that they move to restore order and safety.
Police open an investigation into a suspected murder in the northern Arab town of Jatt, where a 39-year-old man was shot dead.
A police statement says officers are searching for suspects and gathering evidence from the scene.
Additionally, police say one person was seriously wounded and another moderately hurt in a shooting in the southern Bedouin city of Rahat. The two were taken to a hospital in Beersheba for treatment.
The departures area at Ben Gurion Airport is lined with passengers who arrived hours before check-in opens for their flights, out of fear of being blocked by the ongoing protest.
Among them is single father Edan Razinovsky, 37, who left Tel Aviv nearly 12 hours ahead of his midnight flight.
“With two five-year-old twins and four suitcases, I can’t take a train,” Razinovsky says, instead opting to take a cab at 12:30 p.m.
He adds that it’s hard for them to spend so many hours in the terminal, but that camaraderie has developed among passengers in similar positions.
“This nice grandma read them a book earlier, but then she left for Switzerland,” he says.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi doesn’t depart today on a three-nation tour to Africa as planned, state media reports without elaboration.
Raisi was supposed to travel from Tehran this morning, but no Iranian news outlets reports him leaving.
The country’s media said repeatedly over the past week that the president planned to visit Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. State media doesn’t elaborate on why he hasn’t departed.
Kenya’s foreign ministry says in a brief statement that the visit was delayed until tomorrow morning so key memoranda of understanding could be finalized “that are central to the furtherance of relations.” The statement says the presidents would have a bilateral meeting after Raisi arrives.
It would be unusual for Iran’s president to call off a foreign trip, though domestic visits sometimes are canceled.
In 2018, Iran canceled a visit by Iraq’s then-prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, after he said he had no choice but to abide by renewed US sanctions on Tehran even though he opposed them.
Iran’s then-foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, reportedly canceled a trip to Italy amid tense nuclear talks, citing his tight schedule.
At the rally outside of the main terminal at Ben Gurion Airport, police grab a man around his neck as they push some demonstrators within the designated protest area.
It’s not clear why police are using force against the protesters.
Police aggressively push several anti-reform demonstrators in the cordoned off area at Ben Gurion airport, apparently to open a lane for transiting passengers to reach a parking lot entrance.
Several protesters raise their hands to their heads pic.twitter.com/ENlgLOJV9Z
— Carrie Keller-Lynn (@cjkeller8) July 11, 2023
Channel 12 shows the police trying to clear access routes for arriving passengers to exit the terminal on buses.
More and more trains are arriving with protesters, it reports, with crowds now far larger than at last week’s airport protests.
The police officer in charge at the airport tells Channel 12 that the situation is under control.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this morning with the White House special envoy for energy Amos Hochstein, the Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement.
Netanyahu’s office reveals only that they spoke about “regional issues and topics connected to the close cooperation between the US and Israel.”
According to Channel 12, they discussed tension with Hezbollah in the north and attempts to reach a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.
With more and more anti-overhaul protesters arriving at the airport, demonstrators complain of the heat and smell, as they are cordoned off into an area lining the main approach to Ben Gurion Airport. Police are confining the protesters to that space in an effort to prevent them from taking total control over access roads, as they did at a similar demonstration last Monday.
“Brother, do you have any water?” a young man asks a man standing to his side.
Many protesters are wearing significant ear protection, with drums beating and noisemakers blaring.
A woman clasps her hands in thanks to another protester for handing her a pair of earplugs from a jumbo pack she is holding.
Police push several demonstrators within the cordoned-off section apparently to open a lane for transiting passengers to reach a parking lot entrance. Some protesters raise their hands above their heads.
According to Channel 12 news, some protesters say they are having trouble breathing and warn about the danger of a repeat of the Meron disaster, when 45 people were fatally crushed at Mount Meron at a Lag B’Omer religious gathering in 2021. “It is very, very crowded here,” says Channel 12’s reporter at Terminal 3.
A studio guest says the organizers of the protests should tell activists not to come to the airport for fear of the consequences of the crowding.
Some 84,000 people are flying in and out of the airport today on some 500 flights.
Several arriving tourists are caught unaware by today’s protest at Ben Gurion Airport, as they exit the arrivals hall to the blaring din of vuvuzelas, drums and thousands of chanting protesters.
Julio, 70, and his wife just landed with a tour group from Honduras.
“We really don’t know what this is about,” he says, waving one hand at the large crowd while keeping the other on his suitcase.
Despite the disruption, Julio says he’s “not nervous” because he “spoke to a police officer and they said it’s okay, that nothing is going to happen.”
An Israeli in a hijab who returned on a flight photographs the scene. When asked what she thinks, she says, “I have no idea how I’m going to get to my car.”
Packed in standing-room-only trains, passengers begin to argue about the judicial shakeup.
“You think it’s reasonable for judges to overrule elected officials?” says a young pro-overhaul Israeli, in support of the coalition’s latest bill to cancel judicial scrutiny over their decisions.
An anti-overhaul activist, decked out in protest shirt, tells him that the bill is the first step toward “dictatorship.”
A man commuting home interjects to say that the whole package of bills is “personal,” sought by a prime minister who changed his tune on judicial independence after he was indicted for corruption.
“We don’t need you to be a Jewish state, we’ll do just fine without you,” another yells at the visibly religious overhaul supporter, after he says that by protecting LGBTQ rights, the court has done something “not normal.”
“Can democracy exist without violence?” an onlooker carrying an Israeli flag asks his girlfriend. “Democracy is necessary, but we’re tearing ourselves apart,” he adds.
Streaming off the train, hundreds of protesters chant “democracy.”
Trains running to Ben Gurion Airport are packed, as anti-judicial reform protesters stream there for a mass demonstration.
Citing the crowd size, currently in the thousands, Central District Police Commander Avi Bitton says the force has now designated an area at Terminal 3 for the protest because the initial site at Terminal 1 isn’t large enough.
National Unity party leader Benny Gantz arrives at the demonstration on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, where opponents of the judicial overhaul are rallying after the coalition’s “reasonableness” cleared its first reading last night.
“They are worried for the country and in light of this concern, they are here leading this fight,” Gantz says of the demonstrators. “I call on them to continue in this direction… ultimately the protests will block this judicial coup.”
Turning to police, Gantz urges officers to minimize force as much as possible.
“These are not enemies,” he says. “You don’t use this force on citizens.”
Gantz, a former defense minister and military chief, also comments on threats by reservists to stop volunteering if the legislation passes.
“These are the best people in the country, these are people who care about the country. I know that in an emergency, everyone will step up. I understand their protest. I think this whole issue of the protest must remain outside the army,” he says.
In a new update, police say they have arrested 66 protesters during today’s anti-overhaul demonstrations on suspicion of violating public order.
There are around 120 Israelis who have been out of contact amid flooding in northern India, the Foreign Ministry says.
The embassy in New Delhi says that it is in regular contact with local authorities, and asks Israeli travelers to listen to its instructions.
Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee chair MK Simcha Rothman claims the bill to cancel judicial scrutiny over the “reasonableness” of politicians’ decisions will only apply to the cabinet and government ministers, and not to municipal officials.
“I looked for mayors in the bill and I couldn’t find them,” Rothman chides an opposition member on the committee, before being met with cries of “elected officials!”
“I am very determined to not remove people from the law that are not in the law,” Rothman adds.
The current version of the bill outlaws judicial review over the reasonableness of decisions made by the government, ministers, or “other elected officials, as set by law.” Critics have charged that the bill will shut down citizens’ rights to petition against their local authorities.
Rothman says that he is unwilling to change that language in the bill because it would slow down the legislative process, as doing so would require the passage of another amendment. Committee legal adviser Gur Bligh backs Rothman, saying that “for the reasonableness test not to apply to another elected official, there is a need to pass another law.”
Anti-overhaul protesters gather at airport’s main terminal; Shabtai: They’re restricted to a specific area
Protesters are starting to gather at Ben Gurion Airport for a demonstration against the judicial overhaul, after the Knesset advanced a related piece of legislation last night.
Although police said demonstrators would be barred from protesting at the main terminal, the protesters are all converging there.
Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is at the scene to oversee the police preparations. The protesters are restricted to a finite area “where they have the right to protest,” he says. “Whoever uses force against the police, we will use force in return,” he adds in answer to a question.
Shabtai is asked why protesters are at the main Terminal 3 at all, when the police had planned to restrict them to the smaller Terminal 1. “Professional considerations,” he says.
Channel 12 estimates that there are 500 protesters at the airport, with the start time for the protest there still an hour away.
Meanwhile, the UnXeptable anti-overhaul group posts several photos of Israelis at US airports heading home in “Saving Israeli Democracy” shirts.
Reservist pilots met today with Israeli Air Force chief Tomer Bar, amid growing threats by members of the IDF reserves to stop showing up for volunteer duty.
The group of pilots, who represented hundreds of others, told Bar that “we swore to serve the kingdom, not the king,” according to an unsourced Channel 12 news report.
A separate report by the Walla news site says Bar praised the pilots, some of whom said they were “close to a very tough moment morally.” Bar reportedly responded by saying he understood what they were going through but said the air force wouldn’t tolerate insubordination and asked they keep things as “they’ve been for 70 years now.”
The news site also says four pilots in the same squadron said this morning they would not be at a training session scheduled for today, with the military looking into the matter.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev of Likud rails at Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara for approving an anti-government demonstration at Ben Gurion Airport later today, vowing to change the law to block such a protest from being held.
“Ben Gurion Airport isn’t a mall or a public space. It’s a strategic asset which requires careful and complex management,” she says in a statement.
“I expected the attorney general to allow the sound management of the facility and not lend a hand to lawbreakers,” adds Regev, who days earlier called to fire Baharav-Meira over law enforcement’s response to protests against the judicial overhaul.
Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, another vocal Baharav-Miara critic, also hits out at the attorney general over today’s protests and accuses demonstrators of “crossing all lines.”
“Stop backing rioters! Start enforcing the law!” he rages.
In another video involving mounted police on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, an officer is seen knocking over a demonstrator and trampling over him with his horse.
There is no immediate word on the man’s condition. The footage shows a number of demonstrators rushing toward him as he lies on the ground.
פרש משטרתי עולה על מפגין בקפלן pic.twitter.com/87RIyuekHI
— בר שם-אור Bar Shem-Ur (@Bar_ShemUr) July 11, 2023
According to police, officers have 18 arrested anti-government protesters in Tel Aviv today on suspicion of disturbing the peace.
In Haifa, police say they are working to clear thousands of demonstrators blocking an access road to the Carmel Tunnel after declaring the protest illegal, charging their actions pose “a concrete danger” to drivers and the protesters themselves.
A police statement says two protesters in Haifa were arrested for violating public order.
Protesters on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street recount the arrests and use of water cannons early today against anti-government protesters.
“The horse-mounted police went crazy,” Tal, a 45-year-old woman who works in business development, tells The Times of Israel. “The rights of people are being violated — the right of movement and right to protest.”
A group of policemen standing in a shady spot swap intelligence.
“I heard some of them talking about going north, “ one says. Another police officer offers cold water to passing demonstrators.
Access to the Ayalon Highway, which protesters have frequently blocked during demonstrations against the judicial overhaul, has been closed off at the Azrieli intersection.
Islamist Arab party leader MK Mansour Abbas tells the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee that the standard of “reasonableness” in judicial review is an important tool for Arab Israelis seeking redress in the Israeli court system.
Abbas says authorities have delayed in making decisions to address surging violent crime in Arab communities and that the reasonableness test is “a line of defense against these destructive decisions.”
He adds that the bill in its current form — which would impose a ban on the judiciary from scrutinizing the “reasonableness” of the decisions by the government and elected officials — makes Arabs feel abandoned by the state and urges the committee to drop the legislation.
The Knesset Constitution, Justice and Law Committee convenes to ready the “reasonableness” bill for the second and third plenum vote it must pass to become law, after the Knesset approved the controversial measure in its first reading last night.
Appearing before the panel, opposition leader Yair Lapid says that passing a curtailment of the reasonableness test will hurt the economy and make the country “weaker, poorer, and more divided.”
“Every citizen will feel it in his pocket,” he says.
On the diplomatic front, he says, the approval of the legislation “will isolate us, it will enter us into a club of states that the world backed away from.”
He also invokes the destruction of the Second Temple, which is mourned on the fast day of Tisha B’Av in two weeks.
“The true lesson of the tale of the destruction, the final days, is that extremists never see or want to see the consequences of their actions,” he says, referring to the infighting among Jews at the time.
Video posted to social media shows mounted police pushing into the crowd and scuffling with protesters on a sidewalk and in a pedestrian area.
The protesters remain standing, but the horses push them and seem to tread on some of their feet.
There are children on the sidewalk who are forced to run to avoid the animals.
Members of the crowd yell “shame!’ and a woman shouts: “What are you doing? You are on the sidewalk, it’s illegal!” at the officers on horseback.
פרשים רומסים מפגינים שנמצאים על המדרכה pic.twitter.com/qvaRU0L57q
— Michal Peylan • מיכל פעילן (@michalpeylan) July 11, 2023
Police say a protester against the overhaul attacked a police horse at a demonstration in Jerusalem.
The suspect is alleged to have hit the police animal with a wooden pole.
The suspect was arrested, along with a second individual accused of illegally spray-painting in the area.
Jerusalem police say 10 people have been arrested in the city on suspicion of public order offenses in connection with the protests.
Police use water cannons in an attempt to disperse protesters against the judicial overhaul in central Tel Aviv.
It is the first time in a number of weeks that water cannons have been used in Tel Aviv for any purpose other than clearing protesters from the Ayalon highway.
At the same time, police begin to physically move the protesters at the Kaplan interchange.
There are also mounted police operating in the densely packed crowd.
The crowd chants: “Shame!”
A woman was injured earlier on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway when she was hit in the head by a water cannon.
Earlier this week, a number of senior physicians asked police to stop using water cannons as a crowd dispersal technique after a number of protesters were seriously wounded.
The letter characterized water cannons as “weapons” that cause “exceptional and serious” damage by spraying water at high pressure.
עימותים קשים בתל אביב: מכת״זית הופעלה לעבר המפגינים https://t.co/s0cjEwIepX
???? דוברות המשטרה pic.twitter.com/aOz5W2kK28
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) July 11, 2023
The attorney general, who was asked by the government on Sunday to issue a written position regarding demonstrations at Ben Gurion Airport, approves them.
“Ben Gurion airport is a public place, but everybody has the right to freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate there too,” Channel 12 quotes Gali Baharav-Miara as stating.
“The right to demonstrate in this area will be limited only when it is deemed almost certain that there is a likelihood of severe disturbance to public order,” she says.
Protest leaders have called on demonstrators to attend a protest at Ben Gurion Airport this afternoon. Thousands are expected to rally at the airport after a bill to curtail judicial oversight over the decisions of elected officials passed its first reading in the Knesset overnight.
On Sunday, Baharav-Miara was castigated by ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government who say law enforcement has not cracked down enough on protests. Several ministers called for her dismissal.
Three prominent figures are slated to testify at the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee today, as the panel begins preparing a bill to end judicial scrutiny over the “reasonableness” of elected officials’ decisions for its final Knesset votes.
Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon, former justice minister Daniel Friedmann, and Finance Ministry legal adviser Asi Messing are scheduled to address the committee, which will begin proceedings at 12:30 p.m.
Police are scuffling with protesters at Tel Aviv’s Kaplan intersection, the location of the central weekly rallies against the government’s contentious judicial overhaul.
Watch a live feed from Kaplan here.
A number of roads are blocked in the area as groups of protesters converge at the junction from across the city.
Mounted police try to contain the demonstrators, resulting in sporadic clashes.
There is a secondary protest area in the Ramat HaHayal neighborhood of north Tel Aviv where many tech firms have their offices, and a third at the Tel Aviv law courts.
Water cannons have been deployed to the scene but have not yet been used in Tel Aviv today.
המשטרה מנסה לבלום את המפגינים בצומת קפלן עם פרשים, גדרות ושוטרים. המפגינים מנסים לפרוץ קדימה לעבר הירידות לאיילון pic.twitter.com/2qLNd9Jd5Z
— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) July 11, 2023
With communications down in India after floods, Foreign Ministry says around 60 Israelis still unreachable
After deadly floods hit northern India, friends and families of a number of Israelis have reported to the Foreign Ministry that they are unable to reach their loved ones.
Around 60 Israelis are currently unreachable, the Foreign Ministry says.
The Foreign Ministry says in a statement that “in recent hours, a number of requests have arrived about those unable to be reached.”
According to Israel’s consulate in New Delhi, the problem comes primarily from damaged communications infrastructure and lack of reception.
“The Foreign Ministry, along with other actors on the ground, are undertaking efforts to reach the travelers,” says the ministry.
There are currently no indications that any Israelis have been hurt in the floods.
Police say that as of 11 a.m. there have been 42 arrests at protests against the judicial overhaul.
Sixteen were detained in Tel Aviv, 15 in the central district, eight in the Jerusalem district and three in the coastal district.
Police say that three people are detained on suspicion of public order offenses at Ha’Ogen Interchange near Netanya.
There have now been 33 people detained in demonstrations across the country.
The head of the Histadrut labor federation issues a public call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “stop the chaos” of his government’s judicial overhaul, and says the labor federation will take action if necessary.
Arnon Bar-David addresses Netanyahu directly in a public speech: “Stop the crazy chaos in Israeli society as soon as possible. The ball is in your court. When the situation reaches an extreme and all other paths have been taken, we will intervene and use our power.”
“Shutting down the economy is not a game,” he tells a Tel Aviv conference, implying that he may use the union to pressure the government to halt its unilaterally advancing of the overhaul so that both sides can return to compromise talks.
“They are fighting in the Knesset, they have blown up the [compromise] talks at the President’s Residence, leaving the people of Israel and the Histadrut caught in the middle,” he says.
According to Channel 12 news, senior officials from the union met earlier in the week to discuss the possibility of calling a general strike.
Protesters converged on the Histadrut headquarters this morning, demanding Bar-David declare a public strike.
Many protesters are angry that the labor federation has not taken action after a bill to radically curb judicial oversight over government decisions was passed overnight in its first reading.
In late March the union joined a daylong general strike triggered by Netanyahu’s since-reversed decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after Gallant called for a pause to the judicial legislation amid growing unrest over the overhaul. The strike was called off the same day after Netanyahu agreed to pause the legislation to allow for negotiations with the opposition.
Protesters are blocking an intersection near the Ayalon highway near the Savidor train station.
Several dozen have gotten close to the highway and traffic is moving slowly in the southbound lanes.
Other protestors are trying to find a way onto the Ayalon.
“Faster, faster,” one shouts. “Friends, hurry before the police get here, let’s go onto the Ayalon!”
There are clashes in Tel Aviv between police and demonstrators against the government’s contentious judicial overhaul.
A protester is detained for lighting a flare under a police car, taking the number of arrests across the country to 30.
Roads are blocked as tens of thousands protest, hours after a bill to curtail judicial oversight of government decisions passed its first vote in the Knesset.
Diaspora Affairs and Social Equality Minister Amichai Chikli alleges that comments made by US President Joe Biden on Sunday criticizing the government and expressing concern over its judicial overhaul program were coordinated with Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and former prime minister Ehud Barak.
“Every time they want to stoke the fire, all of a sudden there’s a comment from the direction of the [US] president,” Chikli remarks in an interview with the Kol Barama radio station.
“I think these comments are prompted and timed by Lapid and Barak and their people who are friends with these people [in the Biden administration]. There is a certain amount of coordination between Biden’s people and Lapid and Ehud Barak; there is certain amount of synchronization.”
In an interview with CNN broadcast earlier this week, Biden said the current Israeli government had “one of the most extreme members of cabinets” he had ever seen, and, regarding the judicial reforms, “hopefully, Bibi [Netanyahu] will continue to move toward moderation in changing the court.”
Outspoken minister Chikli has previously told US Ambassador Tom Nides to “mind your own business” after Nides said the government should slow down its push to overhaul the judiciary.
Police say five people have been arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace in Tel Aviv.
The individuals were detained as police cleared the Ayalon highway at the La Guardia interchange and at the Kaplan intersection in the city.
The arrests bring the total to 29 detained in nationwide protests against the government’s judicial overhaul.
The Israel Defense Forces says it will hold a test of siren systems and emergency preparedness in the central city of Rishon Lezion later today.
The sirens will sound in the eastern part of the city at 6:05 p.m. and in the western part at 6:15 p.m.
Residents of the area are asked to enter bomb shelters when they hear the sirens and to ensure that their shelters are stocked for an emergency.
In the case of an actual attack, the sirens will sound twice, the military says.
Some 300 reservists in cyberwarfare units have issued a letter saying they will not show up for volunteer reserve duty, after the Knesset okayed the first reading of a bill to eliminate courts’ ability to rule on the “reasonableness” of governmental decisions.
“The Netanyahu government proved today that it is bent on crushing the State of Israel. Passing the law to cancel the reasonableness clause is the first step in the transformation of the State of Israel into a corrupt, dark, and weak state,” the letter reads.
The reservists warn that “cyber capabilities that are sensitive and have the potential to be misused must not be entrusted to a criminal government that undermines the foundations of democracy.”
“Confidence in the government’s ability to direct offensive cyber activity has been deeply fractured. This is a clear and immediate danger,” the letter says.
“Therefore, we, the 300 signatories… are immediately withdrawing from our voluntary reserve service. We will not develop capabilities for a criminal regime, and we will not assist in training the future generation of cyber [warfare soldiers],” they add.
Unlike most reservists who are called up for duty with a formal order from the IDF, pilots and other special forces show up for duty more frequently and in a voluntary manner, often not during an emergency, due to the nature of their position.
The military has said that it would discipline soldiers who refuse to show up for duty when ordered to, but stressed that no action would be taken against reservists who only threaten not to show up.
National Unity leader Benny Gantz calls on police “not to give in to the campaign of government threats” and urges them to allow protests against the judicial overhaul to continue.
“Many Israelis will go out today to demonstrate against a regime coup that threatens Israeli democracy. I trust the Israel Police — from the commissioner down to the very last police officer in the field — not to give in to the campaign of threats from the members of the government, and to allow the protest to take place as it should in a democratic country,” Gantz tweets.
“I call on all the protesters – go out, demonstrate, fulfill your duty, and do it according to the law and police instructions,” he says.
Education Minister Yoav Kisch says of the widespread national protests against the judicial overhaul that “we won’t give in to this terror.”
“It is an attempt to intimidate elected officials and disrupt the lives of millions,” the Likud lawmaker tells Army Radio. “People are allowed to block the Ayalon [highway] every week. Where is the justice?”
Yesh Atid MK Orna Barbivai decries his comments.
“Shame on him. He calls the demonstrators who go out with a flag, the grandmothers and children who instead of enjoying summer vacation have gone out to protect the country — he calls them terror?”
Police say that as of 9:45 a.m. there have been 24 arrests at protests against the judicial overhaul.
Twelve people were detained in the central district, seven in the Jerusalem district, three in the coastal district and two in Tel Aviv.
At least one of those arrests was of an individual who confronted the protesters.
A crowd of several hundred people are gathered outside the Histadrut headquarters demanding that Israel’s largest labor union declare a general strike.
Dozens of groups of protesters are approaching the building from across the city.
They are banging drums, blowing horns and making the sound of a rising and falling air raid siren.
Several Histadrut officials whose identity cannot be discerned are looking down on the protestors from a balcony.
Nurit, 65, a university professor, says she came to demand that Histadrut chief Arnon Ben David declare a general strike so that “all the workers can show solidarity with the protesters.”
“I am afraid he will not respond because he is not on the side of the protesters,” she says.
The key highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem reopens to traffic after police clear protesters from the road.
Police used water cannons and dragged demonstrators away from the highway.
One woman suffered a head injury when she was hit in the head by high-pressured water from a water cannon.
According to Hebrew-language reports, Route 1 may be blocked again later in the day.
Police say they have arrested four people at the Rishonim junction near the central city of Rishon Lezion.
In a statement, law enforcement says the four are held on suspicion of disrupting public order.
1973 war veterans against overhaul greet travelers at Ben Gurion Airport, are cleared from arrivals hall
Dozens of veterans of the 1973 Yom Kippur War are removed from Ben Gurion Airport, having entered the arrivals hall to greet travelers with balloons and Israeli flags.
“We decided that we would come this morning to greet those entering the State of Israel. We came with flowers, with balloons of the Israeli flag and hearts and we sang not once, but several times the [national anthem] ‘Hatikva’ and we greeted all the passengers,” Eyal Yaffe who fought in the Armored Corps at the Suez Canal, tells the Walla news site.
“We very much hope, and together we will fight for it, that there will be only democracy here and we very much hope that there will not be a dictatorship here. This morning [the country] dipped a toe into dictatorship,” he says.
The veterans are joined by protesters from the women’s protest group Building an Alternative.
A large protest is set to be held at the airport later in the afternoon.
A Likud minister calls for jailing one of the anti-judicial overhaul protest movement’s leading figures.
“Roee Neuman, one of the leaders of the disruptive demonstrations, who publicly calls on demonstrators to come and protest at [Ben Gurion Airport’s main] Terminal 3, contrary to police instructions, must be arrested immediately for sedition and disruption of public order,” tweets Energy Minister Israel Katz.
“That’s how it should be in a state of law.”
רועי נוימן @NeumanRoee ממובילי הפגנות השיבוש שקורא פומבית למפגינים להגיע ולהפגין בטרמינל 3 בנתב״ג, בניגוד להנחיות המשטרה, חייב להיעצר מיד בגין המרדה ושיבוש הסדר הציבורי. כך ראוי במדינת חוק.
— ישראל כ”ץ Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) July 11, 2023
A key lawmaker responsible for shepherding a bill to block judicial review over the “reasonableness” of elected officials’ decisions says he does not expect meaningful changes to the bill, as he begins to prepare it for its final Knesset votes.
“I will say clearly, I am not convinced that the bill needs to be changed in its essence,” MK Simcha Rothman tells Army Radio, hours after the Knesset approved the bill in its first floor vote.
Rothman chairs the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which will reconvene today at 12:30 p.m. to begin preparing the bill for its final floor votes, in line with the coalition’s July 30 timeline for completion on the legislation to curb judicial oversight on government decisions.
A protester is taken to hospital with a head injury after she was hit in the face by a water cannon deployed by police to clear demonstrators against the judicial overhaul who were blocking a key highway.
The Magen David Adom emergency service says the woman was hit in the head by the high-pressured water on Route 1, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The injured woman is taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Earlier this week, a number of senior physicians asked police to stop using water cannons as a crowd dispersal technique after a number of protesters were seriously wounded.
The letter characterized water cannons as “weapons” that cause “exceptional and serious” damage by spraying water at high pressure.
Protesters begin to gather at the Histadrut headquarters in Tel Aviv, where they are urging the labor federation to call a general strike.
Pensioner Ruti Tamir says she is protesting for the sake of future generations.
“It affects us less — it’s about the next generation,” she says. “I can’t be quiet. I hope it helps and we won’t have to say, ‘Why did we let this happen?'”
Raz, 35, says that the protests will escalate if the government continues its plans to radically weaken the judiciary.
“I feel things are changing in Israel. We won’t let this happen. We’re polite for now, but slowly we will escalate and we won’t let it happen,” he says.
Police say five demonstrators against the judicial overhaul have been arrested for blocking Route 443 near the central city of Modi’in.
Police say the five were detained on suspicion of public order offenses.
Multiple roads in Tel Aviv are blocked as protesters begin to march from a number of locations around the city toward the headquarters of the Histadrut labor federation.
Many protesters have been angered that the labor federation has not called a general strike after a bill to radically curb judicial oversight over government decisions was passed overnight in its first reading.
In late March the union joined a daylong general strike triggered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s since-reversed decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for calling to pause the judicial legislation amid growing unrest over the overhaul. The strike was called off the same day after Netanyahu agreed to pause the legislation to allow for negotiations with the opposition.
Police begin to use water cannons as they attempt to clear protesters from the main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Law enforcement officials say they are gradually opening up the area to traffic.
Earlier this week, a number of senior physicians asked police to stop using the crowd dispersal technique after a number of protesters were seriously wounded.
The letter characterized water cannons as “weapons” that cause “exceptional and serious” damage by spraying water at high pressure.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 11, 2023
Protesters have blocked the Ayalon Highway at the KKL Junction in north Tel Aviv.
Vehicles are unable to travel toward the south.
Demonstrators are handing out snacks to motorists stuck in the traffic.
אבוקות בכביש 1, עימותים בין שוטרים למפגינים; מוחים חוסמים את איילון דרום באזור מחלף קק"ל
— חדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) July 11, 2023
Police say they have cleared the Ha’Sira Junction near Herzliya, which was blocked by protesters who set up dozens of tents.
Demonstrators had also set fire to tires on the road.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 11, 2023
The main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is blocked by protesters near the Hemed interchange.
Hundreds of demonstrators block Route 1 in both directions, lighting flares.
There are no immediate reports of arrests
Several hundred protesters block Route 443’s Jerusalem-bound lanes near the Maccabim Checkpoint.
Two are arrested, according to Haaretz.
Protesters block several roads as they launch a ‘day of disruption’ against the government’s judicial overhaul program, after the coalition renewed its legislative push by advancing a bill that will curtail judges’ oversight of politicians.
Protest actions begin with dozens of demonstrators setting up tents at an intersection in Herzliya, calling the outpost “a democracy camp.”
The tents block off traffic in both directions direction on Route 20 in the central city, according to police. Video from the scene shows protesters burning tires and singing protest songs.
At the Karkur traffic junction, near Hadera, protesters block Route 65 with a huge banner that reads, “No entrance for a dictatorship.”
Protesters also block the northern and southern entrances to Haifa on Highway 2.
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