Israeli Police Detain 12 as Anti-government Protests Near Gantz's Home Persist

Police cite violations of regulations that call for demonstrators to keep a few hundred meters away from the defense minister's home, even though he has urged police to allow the protests to take place

Protesters outside Defense Minister Benny Gantz's home in November 2020.
Tomer Appelbaum

Police detained on Monday 12 protesters near the Tel Aviv-area home of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, adding to some 30 cases of removal on anti-government demonstrators from the area over the past two weeks, despite a request by Gantz to allow the protests.

Police cited violations of restrictions requiring demonstrators to keep a distance of several hundred meters from Gantz's private home. Protesters argue that Gantz’s role as alternate prime minister confers the status of official residence to his home.

No protesters were detained at a demonstraation held outside Transportation Minister Miri Regev in the same town.

In early November, Gantz asked Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to permit protests in the vicinity of his Rosh Ha'ayin home and that discretion be used prior to the arrest or removal of any protesters.

Among the protesters hauled away are representatives of the Crime Minister organization, which has been calling on Gantz to push for an investigation of allegations of corruption by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s purchase of submarines and naval boats from the German firm ThyssenKrupp and to quit the government.

Associates of Netanyahu have been indicted in the submarines case but Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has said Netanyahu is not suspected of any wrongdoing. The prime minister is facing criminal charges in three other corruption cases.

The detainees held on Monday also included 70-year-old Shula Klein, who has been detained several times in the past three weeks, and Ravit Naor, who was taken into custody despite her presentation of press credentials.

Police said that Naor was standing at a spot where her presence was not allowed and that she refused to move. Yet Naor’s footage on a live Facebook broadcast show a policeman permitting her to stand at the location to film the demonstration. Two other detainees include Sadi Ben-Shitrit and Yishai Hadas of the Crime Minister group.