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Judicial reform protests: Hundreds of cars block access to Ben Gurion Airport

Hundreds of protesters have arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in their cars and have succeeded in blocking the access road leading to Terminal 3, despite a police presence.

According to onlookers, police have thus far failed to disperse the protesters despite having handed out a number of citations.

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, and noted that Israel Police is considering taking a number of measures to disperse the protesters from the airport, including impounding their vehicles.

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.”

Meanwhile, the head of the National Unity party, MK Benny Gantz, has demanded that Attorney-General Gali Beharav-Miara take immediate action to prevent Minister Ben-Gvir from making operational decisions for the police force with regard to the anti-government protests.

In his letter to Beharav-Miara, Gantz asked her to “prohibit the National Security Minister from entering the police advance control room during the protests today, and to order him to abide by the law and refrain from involvement and giving orders to the police commissioner and officers in all matters related to the demonstrations.”

  • Gantz added that, “The Minister has called the protesters ‘anarchists’ and is making political use of the police force, placing himself in the control room, giving out orders to police commanders, and posing for pictures in order to sway people against the protest.”

Gantz also claimed that, “In one instance, the minister publicly upbraided the commander of the Jerusalem district for a decision made in real time.”

Those protesting against the government and its program for judicial reform began planning massive disruptions across the country earlier this week, with hundreds of large and small protests nationwide and major focus on Ben Gurion International Airport, due to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s itinerary for Thursday which includes an official trip to Rome to meet with the Italian Prime Minister.

Leaked WhatsApp messages from the protest’s organizers revealed that those joining the protest at the airport are being paid 250 shekels (around $70) for their participation, with their gasoline expenses reimbursed.

Thousands of police officers are being deployed across the country to ensure that main traffic arteries remain open, and those disrupting operations at the airport are liable to be fined 500 shekels and have four points placed on their license.

  • Nonetheless, the Prime Minister and his wife now intend to travel to the airport via helicopter to bypass the protests.

Source: Arutz Sheva