Clashes broke out Saturday between protesters and police during demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Several demonstrations ends with protesters blocking traffic and in violence. In Jerusalem, protesters marched toward the city center. 15 demonstrators were arrested, some for assaulting a police officer.
In Tel Aiv, demonstrators marched towards Habima Square. Protesters threw a flaming torch and sprayed pepper spray at police. The commander of the local precinct was sprayed in the face. 13 demonstrators were arrested for inciting violence and assaulting police officers.
Among those arrested in Jerusalem was former Shin Bet official Gonen Ben Yitzhak. "The Israel police used a water cannon, a vehicle that fires a high-pressure jet of water against protesters on Balfour st, in violation of their procedures. In doing so, they endangered the lives of the protesters," Ben Yitzhak said.
"Tonight I tried to speak to the hearts of the police chiefs not to endanger the demonstrators and not to use the water cannon in violation of procedure, but it was to no avail. So I had to stop the water canon with my own body, and I stopped it," he said.
The Israel Police said in a statement that "the police allowed freedom of expression and protest at a demonstration which took place near the Prime Minister's Residence, At one point, the protesters attempted to leave the procession and some of them reached Bezalel st., where the police forced them back in the direction of Paris Square. "Several more attempts were made by the demonstrators to march to the city center, and these attempts were rebuffed by police. The protest then continued to take place in Paris Square until most of the demonstrators dispersed."
Coalition Chairman MK Miki Zohar wrote on Twitter Sunday morning: "to approve mass demonstrations that pose a health risk to all Israeli citizens on the one hand and to close many businesses that follow the guidelines on the other is nothing short of absurd. "The government must decide: either open the whole economy, including allowing these mass demonstrations full of hatred, or stop these sponsored demonstrations immediately, as they decided to close the businesses."