The police said on Sunday that they had arrested at least three people overnight for assaulting anti-government protesters in central and southern Israel.
The demonstrations Saturday night were the latest in a wave of protests calling on the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over the criminal corruption charges pending against him and what demonstrators claim is the government's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the Sha'ar Hanegev junction in the south, a 20-year-old suspect was taken into custody on suspicion of involvement in the stabbing of a protester in the neck. Police have mounted a search for other suspects in the attack, in which the victim sustained superficial wounds.
The victim of the stabbing, Nir Sa'ar, a 40-year-old resident of Kibbutz Gevim, said he sustained superficial injuries to his neck after coming to the assistance of a friend who was being attacked. He described the scene as a "planned ambush," saying that there were 15 attackers who assaulted him and two others.
At a protest at the Aluf Sadeh junction in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, a Netanyahu supporter, 34-year-old Eliran Kambitis, was detained for spraying mace at a protester, police reported. Kambitis, who is a local resident, remained in custody overnight and police said they would seek an order Sunday extending his detention.
Under police interrogation, he confessed and expressed regret for his actions, but said he had actually used window cleaner rather than pepper spray and that he had been motivated in part by incitement on social media.
A third person was arrested in Jerusalem and five others detained on suspicion of attacking a demonstrator on Lincoln Street, near the Prime Minister's Residence. According to eyewitnesses, five men dressed in black attacked the protester with a helmet and a glass bottle.
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More than 5,000 demonstrators gathered on Saturday evening near the Prime Minister's Residence on Balfour Street, which has been the epicenter of the protest movement. They were forcefully dispersed by police in the early hours of Sunday, using water cannons and mounted police. Twelve anti-government protesters were detained for blocking nearby roads and disturbing the peace.
Netanyahu blasts 'Bolshevik' media
In a Facebook post, Netanyahu accused Channel 12 News of inflating the crowd size at the protests against him, calling the station a "shameless propaganda arm of the Bolshevik left to bring down the right-wing government and its leader."
"And of course, they don't even say one word about the blatant threats to murder the prime minister and his family," the prime minister added.