Report: Police seek to open probe of MK for taking part in highway-blocking protest

Labor lawmaker Naama Lazimi says investigation is ‘a warning light that should concern all of us,’ adding a message to Ben Gvir: ‘I’m not afraid of you’

Labor MK Naama Lazimi attends a Finance Committee meeting at the Knesset on December 18, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Labor MK Naama Lazimi attends a Finance Committee meeting at the Knesset on December 18, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Police are reportedly weighing opening an investigation against Labor MK Naama Lazimi for her role in a raucous anti-government protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

According to reports in several Hebrew media outlets, Tel Aviv Police have requested from the national investigative branch to open a criminal probe against the left-wing lawmaker, after she was part of a group of protesters and family members of hostages who blocked the Ayalon Highway and lit a bonfire on the busy road.

In footage and photos from the protest on Saturday, Lazimi can be seen with a group blocking the Ayalon and adding a match or piece of wood to a bonfire.

The left-wing lawmaker has been a regular presence at such protests for months in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and elsewhere, and been a vocal critic against the current government and its failure to secure a deal to bring home the 134 hostages believed to be held in Gaza.

Police generally need to request permission from the attorney general in order to open an investigation of a Knesset member or minister. If she ultimately faces charges, Lazimi could turn to the Knesset House Committee to request parliamentary immunity.

Responding to the reports, Lazimi wrote that “if protesting on behalf of the hostages is something that is investigated by the police, then get ready for interrogation rooms full to the brim with a dedicated public and with members of Knesset who have not lost their conscience.”

She added that such a probe is “a warning light that should concern all of us. Every action I took was with the families of the hostages and on behalf of their return, and against the abandonment [of them] by the government of neglect.”

Lazimi concluded: “Ben Gvir, I’m not afraid of you,” addressing the far-right minister who oversees the Israel Police.

The Labor lawmaker also retweeted a post on X which suggested that police were seeking to open a probe just hours after the lawmaker took part in a Knesset hearing about police violence against demonstrators.

Tens of thousands of people took part in mass protests across Israel on Saturday evening, with the hostage families’ protests and the anti-government protest largely joining forces in Tel Aviv in a raucous, angry gathering.

Police made over a dozen arrests and deployed water cannons to disperse the demonstrations in Tel Aviv, where some protesters blocked major roads. Police said they made 16 arrests overall in Tel Aviv and gave fines to nine people for disturbances and blocking traffic.

Speaking at a protest in Jerusalem on Sunday evening, which marked the first of four days of demonstrations, Lazimi told The Times of Israel that such protests can have real power.

“Yariv Levin wanted a dictatorship within two months. So certainly protests help,” said Lazimi, referencing mass protests against the government’s now largely shelved judicial overhaul program. “They saved Israel from dictatorship and they will help now. They will help save Israel from the destroyers within, from those who endanger the security of Israel, [from those] who sit in the government who endanger the existence of this nation.”

Sam Sokol contributed to this report.

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