‘People are waking up’: 50 arrested in anti-Netanyahu protests

A police water cannon douses dozens of protesters in central Jerusalem during clashes that followed a mass demonstration outside the Prime Minister's Residence, July 14, 2020. (Oren Ziv)
A police water cannon douses dozens of protesters in central Jerusalem during clashes that followed a mass demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, July 14, 2020. (photo: Oren Ziv)
A protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned into a chaotic and historic night, during which Israeli-Jewish leftists turned their anger on the police.

By Oren Ziv  | +972  | July 15, 2020

…it became apparent that while the organizers of the protest have been reticent regarding tying the recent anti-Netanyahu protests to other struggles in Israel-Palestine, the demonstrators were far more open to more radical messaging, including about resisting the occupation and police brutality.

The organizers of Tuesday night’s “Siege on Balfour” protest, outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, never expected the latest demonstration against Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption to turn into full-blown clashes with the police that would last into the early hours of the morning. It is hard to imagine that anyone thought 50 people would be arrested.

After all, protests by Israel’s Jewish left over the past few decades have typically been relatively calm — no burning trash cans or water cannons dousing demonstrators. But on “Bastille Day in Balfour,” all that changed.

Every person I spoke to during the protest agreed on one thing: what began in Tel Aviv following Saturday night’s protest against government inaction in the face of the economic crisis — in which hundreds blocked roads and 20 people were arrested — continued on Tuesday night. A number of young protesters said that this was only the beginning. “People are understanding that there is no choice but to go out and protest, even aggressively, and they do not need to apologize for their [political] positions,” said another demonstrator.

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