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Anti-reform protesters plan to form ‘Citizens Police’

The activists intend to step in if opponents of the government's program face violence at demonstrations.

Israelis protest in Tel Aviv against the judicial reform program, March 1, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.
Israelis protest in Tel Aviv against the judicial reform program, March 1, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.

Hundreds of opponents of judicial reform have established a group called the “Citizens Police” to prevent violence at “points of friction.”

About 200 Israeli activists have organized themselves in a WhatsApp group, fearing attacks on fellow anti-reform protesters.

“Due to the difficult situation created by the protests, we are establishing a civil guard if Ben-Gvir can, too,” they said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent promise to National Security Minister of Itamar Ben-Gvir to support him in establishing a volunteer national guard under his ministry’s control,” Channel 12 reported.

The idea of a national guard was first proposed by then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during the previous government.

“In view of the threats of Ben-Gvir’s militias, we need to take action so that our demonstrators feel safe in the face of the terror that is imposed everywhere,” the activists said. “The idea is that we will cover the country in teams of four to five who are available at any moment (in shifts, of course) to leap into action to protect protesters in their area.

“Our goal is to create a determined group that can reach the points of friction at the demonstrations in order to be there and prevent violence,” the group said.

On Tuesday, Channel 12 reported that three males, ages 17, 25 and 26, were arrested after they posted a video on social media in which they declared their intention to harm anti-reform protesters at a demonstration in Jerusalem. In the recording, they are heard saying, “There are knives. There are weapons—we are on our way to Jerusalem to kill them.”

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