Chief of Israeli security agency blasts violent left-wing protest

Five demonstrators were arrested as police stopped hundreds from breaking through barriers around the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The head of the Shabak internal security agency joined right-wing and centrist politicians in condemning Tuesday night’s violent anti-government protest in Jerusalem in which hundreds tried to break through the barriers around the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem and dozens succeeded.

In an unusual move, Shabat chief Ronen Bar made a public statement about the demonstration.

“The violent discourse on the internet and some of the scenes we saw tonight in Jerusalem deviate from the accepted rules of protest,” he said.

“This is a worrying trend that could lead Israel to dangerous areas that we must not reach,” the intelligence agency head cautioned. “There is a clear line between legitimate protest and violent and illegal protest.”

Five protestors were arrested as policemen were attacked and viciously insulted on the scene. During the scrum, one demonstrator threw a burning torch at a policeman on horseback.

Another officer was sent to the hospital after a section of torn-up fencing was flung on him.

Minister Without Portfolio Chili Tropper, whose National Unity party joined the government from the Opposition after Hamas’ invasion and massacre of 1,200 people six months ago, posted his own warning on his Facebook page.

“There is no reason to return to the language and conduct that existed here until October 7. Violent protest could dismantle Israel,” he wrote.

Joining his criticism Wednesday morning, National Unity party head and War Minister Benny Gantz wrote on X, “The strength of the IDF and the spirit of the warriors is a significant part of our ability to win the war – but unity of the nation is the key to our future.”

“We must not accept violence from any side,” he continued. “We cannot accept the ignoring of police guidelines and the breaking through of barriers as we saw last night in Jerusalem. Protest is legitimate, the pain is also understood, but the law and the rules of the game must be kept.”

“We are brothers, one nation, in one of its most difficult moments – It is forbidden to return to October 6th,” he concluded.

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar (Likud) was one of many on the right who expressed similar sentiments.

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“Those who divide among us as if the Seventh of October did not occur are not internalizing that every disaster that came upon Israel happened because of division and unfounded hatred,” he wrote on X.

“In a democratic country, citizens must be allowed to express their protest, but we must not allow the violence of a handful of hateful demonstrators to bring us back to the civil war that led to the worst disaster in our history.”

Fellow Likud MK Boaz Bismuth’s plea reflected the feelings of many citizens who reacted to the violent scenes on social media when he wrote, “While our heroes are fighting in Gaza, irresponsible people are weakening the nation and our enemies are rubbing their hands with pleasure.”

“Stop the insanity!” he demanded. “Together we will win – separately, we’ll lose. Now, only unity!”

While the police statement on the riot emphasized that “At no stage was there any danger to the prime minister’s house itself and no one physically came to it,” National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for the Shabak to take the threat of violence seriously.

“Just last week,” he noted, “I warned the head of the Shabak about the disregard for the Prime Minister’s security and was dismissed. I demand that the Shin Bet wake up immediately and take seriously the security of the prime minister of Israel and his family.”

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It is “unacceptable” for the Shabak to “close their eyes” to the possibility of an attempted assassination, he said.