Tel Aviv's Mayor Among Injured Amid Violence at Nationwide anti-Netanyahu Protests

Protesters were attacked and sent to the hospital in multiple cities as protests take place amid tighter restrictions

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Tel Aviv's mayor Ron Huldai appears to have been injured at a protest, October 3, 2020
Tel Aviv's mayor Ron Huldai appears to have been injured at a protest, October 3, 2020 Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Anti-Netanyahu protesters were attacked in various incidents, as well as being subjected to incidents of police violence, as rallies were held at hundreds of locations in order to comply with new regulations requiring protesters to remain within a one kilometer radius of their homes.

Clashes between protesters and police broke out in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, with arrests taking place and mounted units deployed. Police were documented punching protesters as they forced their way through crowds in south Tel Aviv.

The city’s Mayor, Ron Huldai, was also seen at the protest in Tel Aviv and appears to have been lightly injured on his arm amid the clashes, though it is unclear exactly how he sustained the injury. The mayor said that he was feeling well and continued to circulate among protesters.

The "Rise Israel" organization reported several acts of violence against  by other citizens. In Tel Aviv, two demonstrators were attacked and evacuated to the hospital. 

In Ramat Gan, glass bottles were thrown from a balcony at protesters. A demonstrator was beaten in and another demonstrator was knocked over. In Holon, a glass bottle was thrown at protesters, and in Haifa, firecrackers were thrown at protesters.

Police officers drag away a protester during anti-Netanyahu protests in Tel Aviv, October 3, 2020.
Police officers drag away a protester during anti-Netanyahu protests in Tel Aviv, October 3, 2020.Credit: Tomer Applebaum

Members of the Black Flag movement also reported an attack on protesters in Tel Aviv. A woman was lightly injured and taken to Ichilov hospital in stable condition. Three people were detained following the incident, though their exact involvement is still unclear.

Yuval Barak, the daughter of the woman who was attacked, told Haaretz :“My parents went to protest behind [their] house at the nearby square. My mom had a horn. Someone came toward my dad and started yelling and when my mom honked her horn he turned around and punched her in the face. He broke the horn in her face and she’s bleeding.” Barak added that protesters chased after the assailant.

Another protester was reportedly attacked and sent to the hospital in Kiryat HaYovel in Jerusalem. According to an eyewitness, a driver began yelling at and cursing protesters from his vehicle. When one protester approached the car, the assailant kicked and hit him. A officer separated the assailant from the protest and suggested that the protesters file a complaint. The assailant was allowed to leave the scene.

Police officers arrest a protester amid tighter restrictions, October 3, 2020.
Police officers arrest a protester amid tighter restrictions, October 3, 2020.Credit: Tomer Applebaum

In Pardes Hannah, a protester was taken to the hospital with a broken hand after he was reportedly attacked by 15 people. Police arrested a 25-year-old resident on suspicion of being involved in the attack.

According to eyewitnesses, the protester was chased and beaten after attempting to intervene when the group spat on a fellow protester. "They were Bibistim," the protester said, referring to the nickname for fervent supporters of the prime minister. "When I passed by them with a sign, they cursed at me. They had no reason to spit on her, unless it was political." The protester added, "They chased me, knocked me to the ground and lynched me. They kicked me in the ribs and in the face. I ran away from them."

Defense Minister tweeted on Saturday night that violence against protesters is "intolerable", adding that the demonstrations are a "legitimate and vital aspect of democracy". He called on police to apprehend those attacking protesters and bring them to justice.

The Black Flag responded to Benny Gantz in a fiery tone: "Words do not suffice: as long as you serve the defendant you are just as guilty as he is - resign!"

Kahol Lavan lawmaker Miki Haimovich, who chairs the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, attended the demonstrations in Tel Aviv on Saturday night following reports from protesters of police brutality and unlawful arrests. She said that she is "very worried" by what she saw, and noted that she had made efforts to speak with police leadership on the ground to curb violence, to no avail. Haimovich added that "the police used unreasonable force" and suggested that the clashes escalated following provocations by the police.

Likud lawmaker Shlomo Karai, called for the immediate dismissal of Haimovich from her position as chair of the Interior Committee because “she demonstrates against the government, votes against its decisions”. He added that at least lawmaker Merav Michaeli, who demonstrated alongside her, “has the integrity to do so from the opposition.”

Yesh Atid MK , Chairman of the State Audit Committee said that “the behavior of the police…crossed the reasonable line.” Adding that he “will convene the State Audit Committee” for an inquiry “into this strange policy."

Labor and Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli said "The incitement that brings about violence toward protesters, good Israelis who are suffering under these circumstances, must stop. We cannot be dragged into a civil war." 

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