All Israel

Thousands of Israelis, including ministers Ben Gvir & Smotrich, celebrate Jerusalem Day with Flag March

Police arrest 18 suspects for attacking journalists, clashes erupt in Old City

Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir seen during Jerusalem Day celebrations outside the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, June 5, 2024. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Thousands of Israelis marched through the capital as part of Wednesday’s Jerusalem Day Flag March, including right-wingers National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Financial Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli media reported.

Violent clashes with Arab Jerusalemites erupted around noon, as thousands of attendants gathered in east Jerusalem ahead of the march, including many national-religious and Orthodox youth.

The police later reported that 18 marchers were arrested, including five who attacked journalists. One such incident involved a Haaretz reporter who said he was knocked to the ground and kicked until the police intervened.

Thirteen people were arrested for violence and threatening behavior, including against police officers, as well as for disorderly conduct. One of them was arrested for holding a knife, according to Ynet News.

Young men also threw stones, attacked local Arab residents and chanted hateful slogans like, “Death to the Arabs,” “Mohammed is dead,” and “May your village burn down.”

Jewish men hold Israeli flags as they dance at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, during Jerusalem Day celebrations, June 5, 2024. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Over the years, the annual Jerusalem Day Flag March has increasingly become associated with the national-religious and Orthodox sector of Israeli society, with thousands of youth arriving for the march to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.

Ben Gvir and Smotrich, who lead the national religious parties in Israel’s Knesset, joined the procession.

In an address to the attendees, Ben Gvir stated that the event was intended to send the message to Hamas that “Jerusalem is ours.”

“The Damascus Gate is ours. The Temple Mount is ours. And God willing complete victory is ours,” he said. Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “Don’t stop. We are winning!”

Ben Gvir later left the march for a situational assessment following a Hezbollah attack that wounded over 11 Israelis in northern Israel.

Smotrich could be seen waving an Israeli flag during the march and dancing in a crowd with the youth.

In recent years, more radical streams within Israel's national-religious movement, which have been at the forefront of recent anti-Christian and anti-Messianic incidents, have increased their presence at the march.

On Wednesday, extremist Baruch Marzel, a founding member of Ben Gvir’s Jewish Power party, was seen wearing a sticker with the slogan, “Kahane was right.” This was a reference to the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, who founded the Kach party, which was later outlawed for calling for violence.

Speaking with the Times of Israel, Marzel claimed the earlier violence didn’t represent the flag march or its participants.

Fellow Kahane supporter Bentzi Gopstein, a leading anti-Christian activist, could be seen passing out “Kahane was right” stickers at a stand nearby.

A crowd gathered in downtown Jerusalem chanting demands for Israel to return to the Gaza Strip permanently and re-establish the settlement bloc that Israel dismantled in 2005. “We are returning to Gush Katif,” the crowd cried.

The Israel Police activated over 3,000 police officers, including reinforcements and volunteers to secure the route of the parade leading from downtown to the Western Wall while passing through Damascus Gate, a central gathering place for Arab residents of East Jerusalem.

Ahead of the march, police had assured that “all events are taken into account, and assessments of several possible cases were carried out, including the possibility of rocket fire at the city during the march.”

There was no intelligence information indicating an intention to harm the march. “The attempts to incite are fewer than in previous years,” the police stated.

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