Israel Police Chief Warns Job Losses Could Trigger New Social Protests

Renewed protests by Bedouin against the Prawer resettlement plan also loom large in police plans for next year.

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The social protests that erupted in the summer of 2011 may return to the streets next year because of the recent spate of job losses, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino told a conference of criminal lawyers in Eilat on Friday.

“There is an increase in the number of protests and it is being felt, and we are the first ones who have to deal with the phenomenon,” Danino said. He linked the protests to the economic situation, with many workers finding themselves part of the wave of firings and without a way to make a living.

The police feel the social protests of the past two years, but especially those of the summer 2011, are likely to return – most likely led by many of the same people who protested two years ago. As a result, the police are expecting the main protests to come in central Tel Aviv.

The police commissioner also spoke about the Prawer Plan to relocate and regularize the rights of the Bedouin. “It is true what former minister Benny Begin said, in the name of the prime minister: there is a delay in the plan, but no one has said they have given up on the plan,” he said.

Danino said protests against the Prawer Plan are expected to continue if the plan is not halted. He added that his estimates as to the expected scenarios concerning the two sets of protests have been included in the police’s preparations and plans for 2014.

Last week, Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court sentenced a major figure in the social-protest movement, Liat Biron, to 90 hours’ public service. She was arrested, along with Daphni Leef and nine other activists, in June 2012. The police used severe force when making the arrests, which were filmed. The protestors had tried to revive the protests of the previous summer but the police decided to prevent any similar protests, including the establishment of a new tent camp.

A cost-of-living protest in Tel Aviv in 2012.Credit: David Bachar
Police Chief Yohanan Danino.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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