Protesters block major highways and interchanges in call for early elections

Anti-government groups demonstrate for equality in military draft outside IDF induction center, call for ‘tax boycott’ outside Tel Aviv government office

Protesters seen blocking the Ayalon Highway (Aviv Atlas/Israeli Pro-Democracy Protest Movement) and Highway 4 near Ma'agan Michael (Ofri Eitan/Israeli Pro-Democracy Protest Movement) on June 16, 2024.

Anti-government protesters blocked several major highways and interchanges across the country on Sunday in a call for early elections.

Groups of several activists blocked roads including Route 1 from Tel Aviv toward Jerusalem, Route 4 heading south from Ra’anana, and the Ayalon freeway in north Tel Aviv, with images showing protesters lighting fires in the middle of the highways.

According to Hebrew media reports, the Kfar Tavor, Gazit, Yavor, Einat, and Nahalim interchanges were also blocked.

Additionally, dozens of activists gathered at Tel Aviv government offices, calling for “tax resistance” against the government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is facing massive blame over its failure to prevent the October 7 massacre, with some also charging that it has fumbled when dealing with key matters relating to the conflict such as negotiating a deal to release the hostages.

The protests also come with public anger further stoked over the coalition’s vote to apply “continuity” to a bill from the previous Knesset lowering the age of exemption from mandatory service for Haredi yeshiva students from 26 to 21, and with the cabinet set today to discuss extending an emergency measure raising the retirement age for IDF reservists.

Mothers lead a protest calling for all sectors of society to be recruited into the army, outside the IDF recruitment center in Tel Hashomer on June 16, 2024 (Ronit Ben David via the pro-democracy protest movement)

Dozens of activists of the Mothers at the Front and Brothers in Arms protest groups blocked the entrance of the Israel Defense Forces induction center at Tel Hashomer on Sunday, calling for equal military service for all citizens.

The women held signs declaring “Recruitment for everyone” and “There’s no difference between blood and blood.”

In a statement, Mothers at the Front founder Ayelet Hashar Saidof said the coalition’s legislation “created a deep split in the hearts of mothers and soldiers.”

The death of eight soldiers in an explosion in Rafah on Saturday “is a reminder that there are those who risk their lives and those who don’t. The time has come to take to the streets and cry out — enough discrimination, recruitment for everyone now!” the statement read.

Activists have organized a week of protests in which they say they aim to get a million people onto the streets in a call for elections and a hostage deal.

Police arrested 12 demonstrators Saturday night during weekly demonstrations in Tel Aviv.

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