Eleven Israelis were hospitalized with injuries suffered during the violent confrontation with police, which escalated after protesters breached a barricade, shouting, “Shame!” Officers, many on horseback, scrambled to disperse the crowd, at times appearing to use indiscriminate force.
Three of the injured were underwent surgery, including one man who lost his ear after being hit with a stun grenade. Such police tactics are rarely seen inside Israel and were more reminiscent of Israeli military operations in the West Bank, where soldiers often clash with Palestinian civilians.
Wednesday’s escalation came after two months of anti-government protests in which tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv’s financial hub, saying that the judicial overhaul being pushed through by the country’s new right-wing government seeks to weaken the Supreme Court, release Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his ongoing corruption trial, and remove legal protections for minorities.
As protesters vowed to continue their demonstrations, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir warned he would use “any available means” at his disposal.
“The right to protest is not the right to commit anarchy,” he said.
“I fully support National Security Minister Ben Gvir, the police commission and the Israel Police officers, who are working against lawbreakers who are disrupting the daily lives of Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday.