Thursday, May 23, 2024

Chaos in Tel Aviv: Car Plows Through Protesters Demanding Netanyahu’s Resignation, 5 injured

HomeWARChaos in Tel Aviv: Car Plows Through Protesters Demanding Netanyahu's Resignation, 5...

TEL AVIV – Screams of terror shattered the night air as a vehicle suddenly accelerated full speed into a crowd of protesters here, bodies crumpling as the car recklessly plowed through. When the dust settled Saturday evening, at least five people lay injured – one critically – victims of shocking violence at a mass rally demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation.

Eyewitness video captured the chilling moment the sedan came barreling down Kaplan Street in downtown Tel Aviv, a major artery transformed into a battleground between Israeli democracy and Netanyahu’s nationalist coalition. Aerial footage showed the car’s path of destruction cleaving straight through throngs of marchers just moments earlier chanting “Democracy!” and calling on Bibi to go.

“One second we’re peacefully protesting, the next bodies are flying everywhere as this car just rams right through at full speed,” recounted Amit Ben-Zvi, 29, his voice still quivering. “It was like a scene from a horror movie – the screaming, the panic, people lying unconscious and bloody all over.”

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In total, five protesters were struck, among them a man in his 50s left in moderate condition according to Magen David Adom emergency services. The other four suffered lighter wounds as the rogue driver briefly escaped before being apprehended. Police have opened an investigation, refusing to rule out if it was a premeditated ramming attack on the anti-government rally.

The violence capped a day of heightened civic unrest across Israel as perhaps 100,000 took to the streets nationwide – including an estimated 45,000 in Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Boulevard area alone – in vociferous opposition to Netanyahu’s push to radically remake the judicial system. Critics, led by President Isaac Herzog, have warned the overhaul will fatally undermine checks and balances by allowing the government to handpick judges and ignore Supreme Court rulings.

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But Bibi and his right-wing coalition have remained undeterred in their quest to “restore balance” to the branches of power, which they decry as being dominated by a liberal judiciary overreaching its authority.

In the aftermath, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi condemned the vehicular attack in Tel Aviv while accusing “leftist leaders, both in and outside the coalition” of fomenting civil unrest. Opposition head Yair Lapid pushed back, blaming the violence on “an attempt by Netanyahu’s government to drag the nation into anarchy and score political points.”

Yet as night blanketed the city, the rage showed no signs of abating. If anything the ramming attack – the most shocking escalation of brutality yet in Israel’s worst domestic crisis in decades – seemed to steel the determination of protesters still converging by the thousands.

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“Make no mistake, we will not stop, we will not back down until Netanyahu and his cronies are gone,” seethed Sara Levi, 35, her voice hoarse from shouting slogans. “They think running over our people with cars will silence us? They have awoken a monster they cannot control.”

With neither side showing any willingness to de-escalate, many fear the internal strife is on a trajectory toward larger unrest and breakdown not seen since the fraught period preceding the creation of Israel. And if the bloodshed in Tel Aviv was any harbinger, the violence may just be beginning.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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