Sunday, July 13, 2014

A few things that happened today in Israel

I went for Shabbat lunch to friends in Jerusalem, and while we were sitting and talking, the sirens sounded again, and we trooped down the stairs a couple of flights and stood with the neighbors. Someone reported hearing a boom, so we went back upstairs. Tel Aviv had a worse night. Hamas announced that it would be attacking Tel Aviv at 9:00 pm, and a few minutes after 9:00, the sirens rang out there and according to the latest reports that I've read, nine rockets were fired at Tel Aviv. Eight of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome.

It was more surreal than usual, because on Saturday night the news on Israel Channel 1 begins at 9:00 pm, and they opened with the Hamas threat, which we then proceeded to watch on television. The Channel 1 reporter was standing on a Tel Aviv street with cafes crowded with people. When the sirens sounded, people scattered to find shelter. Below is a photo I took of the Channel 1 reporter in the empty street - on the right is a shot of Tel Aviv. The caption is: "A short time ago, a siren in Tel Aviv and Herzliya."


At just about the same time, an antiwar demonstration was being held in the square before the Habima theater, organized by leftist groups. Police there were keeping away some right-wing racists, but when the siren sounded, they all left to take shelter, and the racists took the opportunity to attack the leftist demonstrators. See the demonstration below, photo also taken from Israel TV.


Haaretz and +972 magazine reported on what happened, with images from Activestills.org.
9:50 p.m., July 12 (+972)
Hundreds of anti-war activists staged a protest in Tel Aviv’s Bima Square against Israel’s military operation in Gaza Saturday evening. The protest was interrupted by rocket sirens and right-wing activists who shouted and in some cases physically attacked the left-wing activists. At least one protester was evacuated to a local hospital for medical treatment. Groups of nationalist Israelis chased the anti-war protesters through the streets following the protest. A similar protest took place in Haifa and Jaffa. 
Israeli anti-war activists (right) are attacked by nationalist right-wing counter-protesters at a demonstration against the current military operation in Gaza, July 12, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
From Haaretz
Several dozen right-wingers interrupted a leftist demonstration, beating and threatening several demonstrators on Saturday evening in central Tel Aviv. One man was rushed to Ichilov Hospital after he was beaten by the rightists. According to the police, no arrests were made. 
The leftist demonstration started around 8 P.M., with several hundred demonstration and about 20 police officers in attendance. Opposite the demonstration, several dozen rightist activists also gathered. 
Shortly after 9 P.M., rocket alerts were sounded in Tele Aviv, and the police officers and demonstrators ran for shelter, while the rightists chased and threatened them, eyewitnesses said. 
According to Rotem Bin Nun, 38, who participated in the demonstration, the rightists attacked the demonstrators with clubs while the police officers were taking shelter at the nearby Habima Theater. "A friend of mine tried to defend one of the other demonstrators and was beaten himself," Bin Nun said. "He lost consciousness for a few seconds, passers-by called an ambulance and we went to Ichilov. It was fearful. I've never experiences such violence in Tel Aviv in a leftist demonstration," he added. 
Police officers at the scene told Haaretz no one was arrested, that no wounded were reported and that the situation is "under control." According to eyewitnesses and demonstrators, police did not do enough to stop the violence, and arrested no right-wingers who threatened leftists. 
Israeli rapper Yoav Eliasi, known by the stage-name "The Shade," was spotted among the right-wingers and later thanked his fellow activists for showing up, noting members of the Beitar Jerusalem F.C. fanclub, among others. "Together we're a force against the real enemy among us, the radical left, and thanks to my guys who are apparently called the lions, and thanks to the IDF, all this is for you!" he wrote on his Facebook page.
The demonstrators:



Another photo of the racists, from Oren Ziv of Activestills.org

Source: זה קרה בתל אביב הלילה ("This happened in Tel Aviv Tonight"),
 by Haggai Matar in Mekomit (Hebrew article).

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