Police report that over 40 people have been arrested in the course of anti-government protests on Thursday, with many clashing violently with police officers attempting to maintain law and order.
Dozens of protesters attempted to block main interchanges in Haifa and Tel Aviv and refused police orders to disperse. At one point, police used water cannon to disperse protesters.
Demonstrators have been gathering in multiple locations across the country to protest the government's judicial reform legislation in what the protest organizers call a "day of national paralysis."
Over 150 demonstrations are scheduled throughout the country throughout the day. The organizers also plan to block roads and disrupt service at Ben Gurion International Airport, from which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to take off to London for an official visit.
Protesters are currently demonstrating outside the home of Prime Minister Netanyahu in Caesaria, the official residence of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem, the Knesset, Ben Gurion Airport, the home of Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana in Tel Aviv, the home of Education Minister Yoav Kisch in Ramat Gan, The home of Finance Committee Cheif Moshe Gafni in Bnei Brak, and the homes of Minister Nir Barkat and MK Aryeh Deri in Jerusalem. Four reserve pilots were arrested outside the home of Minister Kisch following a confrontation with police. Outside the home of MK Deri, protesters claimed that locals threw eggs at them, but photos from the scene show locals happily dancing in front of the protesters.
A handful of demonstrators also gathered at the base of the walls of Jerusalem's old city, hanging an Israeli flag and banner depicting Israel's Declaration of Independence from the wall. At the same time, a group of Navy veterans blocked the entrance to the Ashdod port with burning tires. In Tel Aviv, high-tech workers blocked Kaplan Street in the city's center.
National Unity chairman MK Benny Gantz encouraged protesters to hit the streets. "The Incapacitation Law passed; this is a personal law to fortify Netanyahu's reign. There is no softening, there is no stop, and there are no restraints. I call on everyone to go out and protest today against this coup d'etat which is continuing and threatening us."
Police are especially worried about a protest march through the haredi city of Bnei Barak in the evening. The march will be attended by activists from the hardline anti-Netanyahu group "Crime Minister" and LGBT activists who intend to wave their flag in the highly religious city. The "Aguda," Israel's major LGBT alliance, says its demonstration will not pass through Bnei Brak but would instead be held in Tel Aviv in the morning, but according to police intel, those groups do intend to come to Bnei Brak as well.
Early Thursday morning, the Knesset approved the “Incapacitation Law” in its second and third readings. The law would prevent the Attorney General from declaring that a Prime Minister is unfit for office. According to the bill, the Prime Minister can only be declared unfit for office as a result of a physical or mental inability to carry out his duties, and only by the Prime Minister himself or by the vote of three-quarters of the members of the Cabinet.