JERUSALEM (VINnews) — During the course of another ‘day of resistance’ to protest the judicial reforms being legislated in Israel, hundreds of protesters parked their cars on the access road leading to Ben Gurion airport, causing the road to be blocked despite significant police presence in the region. Eyewitnesses say that police have yet to disperse the demonstrators from the site and are considering taking more extreme measures such as impounding the cars of protesters.
The protesters chose to target the airport since prime minister Netanyahu is due to depart from there on his visit to Italy to meet with Italian premier Giorgia Meloni. Netanyahu will offer the Italians the sale of Israeli gas and will also request that Meloni recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Due to the protests at the entrance to the airport the prime minister will be landing there by helicopter before taking off for Rome in the afternoon. The prime minister’s flight was delayed until 2 PM due to a meeting to take place at the airport with American Minister of Defense Lloyd Austin.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is currently at the airport following a meeting at the police advance control room established there, along with the commander of Israel Police Central Region, Avi Biton, and the airport’s chief supervisor, Etty Ganis. The minister insisted that “anarchy” would not be permitted despite the importance of allowing people to protest,.
Ben-Gvir added that the measures taken are decided on by the police commissioner, not himself, and that he has “complete faith” in the police force, despite the fact that it has been severely weakened by successive government ministers who now criticize the government for the consequences of their own deeds.
Earlier, at the control room meeting, Ben-Gvir insisted that, “There will be zero tolerance for anyone trying to shut down the airport. The right to protest is important, but we will not allow anarchists to shut Ben Gurion Airport down. We will prevent anarchy.”
Leaked WhatsApp messages from the protest’s organizers revealed that those joining the protest at the airport are being paid 250 NIS (around $70) for their participation, with their gasoline expenses reimbursed. However Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that protesters who blocked the entrances to the airport would be fined 500 NIS and have four disciplinary points added to their licenses.
Other protest rallies are taking part in different parts of Israel, with demonstrators attempting to block major arteries in the coastal region. Police have prevented them from reaching the arteries. Former members of naval units made a protest at sea near Haifa, blocking the Haifa port. Police units intervened to reopen the port.