Police spraying skunk water at protesters
Police spraying skunk water at protestersOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

On Tuesday, the Knesset’s Internal Security Committee, chaired by MK Merav Ben Ari (Yesh Atid), discussed the police’s use of “skunk” water sprayed at protesters in the haredi neighborhood of Meah Shearim.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) reminded the committee members that Israeli court justices have ruled in the past that only “Level-Three” protests justify the use of skunk water and only when no other option presents itself. A level-three protest – more correctly defined as a riot – is one in which there is a “violation of public order with protesters violently resisting police or the public in a manner that may cause bodily harm or damage to property.”

Ben Gvir also noted that at a demonstration he attended (protesting the events surrounding the death of Ahuvya Sandak), police sprayed skunk water at protesters even though there was no necessity to do so.

“They told me to move, to go away, because they were about to spray everyone, but I refused – I said I wouldn’t move and that if they wanted to spray, they could spray me first – as a public servant, I would stand there and get sprayed, and that’s what happened. An unbelievable stench – I was considering bringing my suit to the Knesset the next day to show everyone how revolting it is. I had to take shower after shower afterward,” he related.

Turning to police representatives who were present at the committee discussion, Ben Gvir said, “You’re doing sacred work, important work, work someone has to do in order to maintain order – but it’s not clear that you’re only using such means when they are truly justified, and that isn’t in the best interests of the police, either.”