After learning that extremist protesters are planning to clash with local residents in Bnei Brak this evening, police are making their preparations for a provocation on a huge scale in the haredi city, with protesters expected to march there from nearby Tel Aviv starting at seven o'clock this evening. Large numbers of police are being deployed from the afternoon hours in order to ensure that protesters and local residents do not have any opportunity to clash.
A police representative told Kikar Hashabbat that, "We are extremely concerned about this march, as it could set the area on fire, so to speak, and descend into physical confrontations. We are aware of a large number of people who intend to reach Bnei Brak in order to escalate things there -- from both sides -- and we're not about to allow that to happen. Large police contingents will be securing the march and I hope that it will end without clashes of any kind."
Meanwhile, local rabbis have ordered announcements to be posted across the city calling on locals not to engage with the marchers in any way -- not to approach the streets where they are passing through, and not to physically confront them.
"No one is to be dragged into clashing with them in any way. Each and every adult is responsible for ensuring that his children do not approach the areas where they are congregating. No one is to engage with them or respond to them in any way, whether positively or negatively; no one is to get into arguments with them or cause chillul Hashem [desecration of Hashem's Name], G-d forbid."
According to Kikar Hashabbat, the National Unity party headed by MK Benny Gantz will not be participating in the provocations in Bnei Brak on Thursday evening and it has disassociated itself from the event. "We will not protest against an entire sector; we won't harm the haredi community and we won't be party to such things," the Knesset member said.
During the march, several main streets will be affected and blocked off, from six o'clock onward.