The opposition slammed the ramming of anti-government protesters

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Opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday issued harsh condemnations of his failure to immediately address a incident the previous evening in which a car rammed into anti-government protesters in Tel Aviv.
The driver claimed Sunday that the ramming was accidental, and that a malfunction prevented him from braking or slowing down.
Neither Netanyahu nor his far-right law enforcement minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, immediately commented on the incident.
War cabinet member Benny Gantz, whom polls show to be Netanyahu’s main rival for the premiership, called the ramming incident “horrifying.” “We all must sound a clear voice condemning any violence,” wrote Gantz on X.
He slammed as “irresponsible” claims that anti-government protesters had the “intention of murdering the prime minister,” an allegation made by Transportation Minister Miri Regev in an interview to Channel 12 hours before the Tel Aviv ramming.
MK Gideon Sa’ar, who recently quit the government after his right-leaning New Hope party split from Gantz’s centrist National Unity, called the ramming incident “a clear and serious hate crime,” which he implored law enforcement to prosecute.
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, an ally of Netanyahu, said in an X post that “[you do] not run over protesters.
The merging of the hostages’ families’ cause with the anti-government protesters has generated controversy among the families themselves, some of whom support Netanyahu.

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s detractors on Sunday harshly denounced him for not acting more swiftly to resolve the situation after a car crashed into anti-government demonstrators in Tel Aviv the night before.

Organizers estimated that tens of thousands of people attended the demonstration, which took place on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the war against Hamas. In smaller demonstrations in other cities like Jerusalem, Haifa, and Caesarea, thousands more people joined the call for early elections and an agreement to secure the release of the hostages held in Gaza.

During the rally in Tel Aviv, there were altercations between demonstrators and police, resulting in the arrest of at least five people. Five people were injured when a car driven by a supporter of Netanyahu crashed into protesters. According to reports, the driver was a former soccer player. Police are seen directing the driver away from the demonstration in a video of the incident that went viral on social media. The driver then speeds off and runs over multiple people.

On Sunday, the driver said he was accidentally ramming into someone and that he was unable to brake or slow down due to a malfunction. According to his attorney, if public figures criticize the incident before all the facts are known, it will “lead to unrest” because their client “did everything possible to avoid running over protesters.”. “.

Given that the incident posed a risk to human life, police were expected to ask for the driver’s detention to be extended later on Sunday.

Both the incident and President Isaac Herzog denounced it. The president wrote on X, “The violence must be prosecuted. We must not return to October 6,” alluding to the profound social division that existed before Hamas’s October 7 attack but was mainly subdued in public discourse during the conflict.

“We have to exert every effort to keep Israel united. We can only defeat our enemies as a team, Herzog declared.

Itamar Ben Gvir, Netanyahu’s minister of far-right law enforcement, and Netanyahu did not respond to the incident right away.

Polls indicate that Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet and Netanyahu’s primary opponent for the prime ministership, finds the ramming incident to be “horrifying.”. “.

Gantz posted on X, saying, “We all must sound a clear voice condemning any violence.”.

He denounced as “irresponsible” accusations made by Transportation Minister Miri Regev in an interview with Channel twelve hours prior to the Tel Aviv ramming, that anti-government demonstrators had the “intention of murdering the prime minister.”. Law enforcement was taken aback when a group of demonstrators approached Netanyahu’s residence on Azza Street in Jerusalem on Tuesday; however, police subsequently stated that the prime minister was not in danger.

Gantz wrote, “We must not go back to the days before October 7,” and added, “All public leaders should act sensitively toward all segments of society, especially in these difficult days.”. “.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, claimed on X that the prime minister’s attempts to malign his rivals in the media were the “direct result of the incitement coming from the government and the poison machine,” a term that is widely used to characterize the ramming incident.

Lapid stated, “Until the hostages are freed and this terrible government is overthrown, we will not be discouraged and they will not force us to stop protesting.”.

Calling the ramming incident “a clear and serious hate crime,” MK Gideon Sa’ar recently resigned from government service following his right-leaning New Hope party’s split from Gantz’s centrist National Unity. He urged law enforcement to pursue charges in connection with the incident.

The former top Likud official Sa’ar continued, “This is another sign of the decline of Israeli society while it is being attacked by our enemies from every side.”.

Netanyahu’s ally, Shlomo Karhi, the minister of communications, stated in an X post that “you do not run over protesters.”. Period,” she continued, ranting about the violence that protesters had committed.

Karhi stated that “this decline, driven by the left’s leaders within and outside the coalition, toward October 6 does not help anyone and rips us apart amidst a war,” noting that “this is in complete contradiction to the spirit of our fighters.”. “.

During the government’s intensely divisive judicial overhaul program in 2023, Saturday’s demonstration was held on the now-iconic Kaplan Street, the scene of weekly anti-government protests.

There has been disagreement among the families of the hostages—some of whom back Netanyahu—over the combination of their cause with that of the anti-government demonstrators.

The families of the hostages have been planning a large-scale day of demonstrations on Sunday, which will mark half a year since their loved ones were abducted to Gaza. As a result, Saturday’s protest in Tel Aviv’s Hostages sq\., outside the city’s art museum, was relatively subdued.

On October 7, a sea of terrorists led by Hamas descended upon southern Israel, carrying out multiple atrocities and turning sexual violence into a weapon, killing close to 1,200 people—mostly civilians—and kidnapping 253 others.

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