All Israel

Israeli leaders warn protesters against violence following clashes near Netanyahu's home

‘Clear line between legitimate protest and violence,’ Shin Bet director warns

Police clash with demonstrators during an anti-government protest outside the PM's official residence in Jerusalem, April 2, 2024. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Israeli leaders warned against fueling political tensions and strongly criticized the violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police on Tuesday, during the third day of a 4-day protest near the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

The Israel Police arrested five protesters and opened an investigation against another who threw a burning torch at a police officer. Another policeman was treated at the hospital after being injured by a protester.

Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, who rarely issues public statements, strongly warned against the climate of incitement and violence surrounding recent protests.

“The violent discourse online and some of the scenes we saw tonight in Jerusalem go beyond acceptable protest. They harm the ability to maintain public order, could lead to violent clashes with law enforcement, disrupt their ability to carry out their work, and even cause harm to individuals under protection,” Bar said.

“There is a clear line between legitimate protest and violent and illegal protest. This is a worrying trend that could lead to dangerous places which we must not come to.”

He abruptly left discussions about the hostage release deal on Tuesday evening to investigate the situation at the Prime Minister's Residence, Israeli media reported.

Hundreds of protesters breached a police barricade designed to keep them from approaching the Prime Minister’s Residence before police forces beat them back with a water cannon by discharging a foul-smelling skunk liquid.

While the police barrier was temporarily breached, it did not compromise the Shin Bet's security protocols designed to ensure Netanyahu's safety.

Protesters accused the police of severely beating several people, including some members of hostage families.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who is responsible for the police, accused Israel's domestic security services, of ignoring threats to the prime minister.

“A situation in which thousands of people break through barriers near the prime minister’s home and the Shin Bet turns a blind eye is unacceptable,” he wrote on 𝕏.

“Unity is the key to our future. We cannot accept violence from any side,” cautioned War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz.

“We cannot accept people ignoring police instructions and breaking through barriers as we saw yesterday night in Jerusalem… We mustn’t return to October 6,” he urged.

Gantz's party colleague, Knesset Member Chili Trooper concurred, warning: “The violent protest last night could tear Israel apart… There are many reasons to be angry, but there is no reason to return to the language and conduct that were here until October 7.”

According to the official police statement, the clashes broke out after a police-approved protest march broke up into groups, some of which started an “uninhibited riot.”

“The freedom to protest is not the freedom to riot, go berserk, and risk lives,” the police said in a statement.

“We will continue to allow the freedom of protest according to the law, but we will act with the tools and powers at our disposal against all violent rioters, and all those who harm or attempt to harm public peace and security,” the police added.

Among the speakers at the rally before the riot was former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who accused Netanyahu of “sacrificing the hostages on the altar of total victory.”

After the latest breakdown of the hostage deal talks, many hostage families joined left-leaning protest movements in intensifying demonstrations against the government.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories