Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Israeli newspaper Arab 48 reports that clashed broke out Monday evening between centrist protesters against the Netanyahu government and far right thugs. Some 10,000 fascists gathered in front of the courthouse in Jerusalem to support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to weaken the judiciary. Some got into shouting matches with centrists who oppose Netanyahu’s plans to weaken the judiciary, and they began fighting or throwing bottles at one another. Attacks on anti-government protesters had been planned by the fascist La Familia ultras or hardcore fans of a Jerusalem soccer team.
Sam Sokol, Aaron Rabinowitz, Bar Peleg and Josh Breiner at Haaretz quoted one far-right Israeli counter-protester as calling for running over protesters with cars. Another said, “We should go to the [Supreme] Court with gasoline, the Nazis here. Gasoline, explosives, tractors, guns, knives. From today, everything is kosher.”
Clashes between the two factions, and road closures, lasted into the night. On Monday, Israel had been paralyzed by a strike of workers belonging to the Histadrut federation of unions. Most international flights into Ben Gurion Airport were cancelled because the airport workers were also on strike.
In Tel Aviv, centrist crowds were not mollified by Netanyahu’s announcement that he had placed a “temporary freeze” on advancing the legislation on the courts through parliament. Thousands closed one of the city’s main arteries, Ayalon Highway, but late at night police loosed water canons against them to open the road.
Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir, Minister of National Security, spoke to the rally in front of the courthouse in Jerusalem, saying that he had considered resigning from the Netanyahu government over the freeze on judicial legislation. He said, however, that in the end he did not want to give a victory to what he calls “the anarchists.” In actuality, most opponents of the restrictions on the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court are center-right. If they were Americans they’d be Mitch McConnell Republicans.
In fact, Ben-Gvir’s permission was needed for Netanyahu to pause the legislation gutting the Supreme Court, and he was reluctant to give it. As mentioned, he had threatened to resign. That step could have brought down the government. He had suggested this weekend that it would be much better to break the heads of the protesters and just proceed to pass the legislation in parliament, which Netanyahu probably has the votes to do. In the end, Ben-Gvir acquiesced in the pause, but only because Netanyahu promised to give him a “national guard” to “fight crime.” Critics of the Netanyahu government lambasted this proposed new security force as Ben-Gvir’s private militia, which he will run without oversight.
The Israeli centrists have no doubt that Netanyahu is the source of all the trouble, since he brought the extremists into the government. BBC Monitoring pointed out that Yossi Verter at Haaretz blasted Netanyahu as more dangerous to Israel than Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrollah or Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi.
Meanwhile, Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, accused the US State Department of payrolling the demonstrations against his father, according to Euronews Arabic.