Water cannons were deployed in both Tel Aviv and Haifa to disperse protestors blocking highways and roads.
At least 87 people were arrested across Israel on Thursday as “Day of Paralysis” brought the nation to a halt in several locations in protest of the government’s judicial overhaul.
Three of the protests movements’ leaders were arrested by police, while water cannons were deployed in both Tel Aviv and Haifa against demonstrators blocking roads and highways.
Following the arrest of Shikma Bressler, one of the protest leaders, Labour Party leader Merav Michaeli said: “In a normal country Shikma Bressler would be given the Israel Prize. In the state of Netanyahu and Ben Gvir she is arrested as a common criminal. (This is) Hungary and Poland on steroids. A government of disgrace, democracy will prevail over you.”
National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz encouraged Israelis to take to the streets, saying: “We are in an emergency. A week from today, the politicians will control the appointment of judges in Israel and this is just the beginning. The purpose of the demonstrations is to stop the legislation that will change the face of the country,” and to start broad negotiations that will prevent a civil war.
Protestors also showed up at the homes of Prime Minister Netanyahu, Economy Minister Nir Barkat, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, Education Minister Yoav Kisch and Shas party leader Arieh Dery.
Police arrested a woman who was allegedly trying to hit Dichter with an Israeli flag as he walked to his car, surrounded by security.
Netanyahu issued a statement, saying he “strongly” condemned the “attack on Minister Dichter by a left-wing activist and demand that the leaders of the opposition immediately stop the anarchy, violence and incitement toward elected officials.”
“I demand that the police and the prosecutor’s office take immediate and firm action against anyone who lays hands on elected officials before it is too late,” Netanyahu added.
Acts of violence against protesters were also reported on Thursday, with a motorcyclist spraying tear gas on demonstrators who blocked the Ayalon Highway, according to Haaretz Daily.
Several similar acts of violence against protesters have been documented in recent weeks,
Meanwhile over 100 reservists in the Israeli Air Force announced on Thursday that they would stop showing up for routine and non-emergency duties in protest of the government’s judicial reforms.
Hundreds of other reservists, including doctors and elite soldiers, have issued similar statements in recent weeks. Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF chief of staff Herzl Halevi as well as Opposition Leader Yair Lapid have all criticised those refusing to show up for reserve duty.