2 more suspects arrested over attack on Arab taxi driver by right-wing protesters

Two more suspects were arrested in connection with an attack on an Arab taxi driver by a large group of rioting pro-government demonstrators in Jerusalem, police said Thursday.

Police said Monday that the taxi driver was surrounded by right-wing protesters in Jerusalem, who began pelting his vehicle with objects and fists.

The driver tried to flee​​​​ through a nearby gas station on Ben Tzvi Boulevard, but was then “fiercely attacked by the rioters who chased him and severely damaged his car,” police said. The victim’s condition is unknown.

Police said the suspects were between 22 and 26 years old, and lived in the center of the country.

A 17-year-old man from Jerusalem was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the same attack. A member of that suspect’s family lied to police about the teenager’s whereabouts when officers arrived at the suspect’s home, police said, and the suspect was trying to flee through a balcony.

Both the teen and the family member were arrested, according to police, the latter on suspicion of obstructing an investigation and aiding the suspect’s escape attempt.

The three suspects believed to be involved in the attack were scheduled to appear in court later Thursday for a custody hearing. It was not clear what would happen to the family member.

On Thursday evening, right-wing groups were set to hold another march and rally in support of the overhaul, this time in central Tel Aviv – the bedrock of anti-reform protests.

The attack on the taxi driver was one of several recent incidents of violence, harassment and intimidation by right-wing protesters against demonstrators opposed to the judicial overhaul, Arab passers-by, members of the press and police officers.

Right-wing protesters temporarily blocked Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Ben Zvi roads near the entrance to Jerusalem on Monday, and footage from public broadcaster Kan showed them setting fire to the road and adding items to the flames. to expand.

Chants of “Death to the Arabs” can be heard in the background.

Among the protestors rioting in favor of overhaul in Jerusalem were dozens of members of the right-wing extremist group La Familia – nominally a fan club of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, although the team is again far from the organization and again for his racist rhetoric and violent antics. . Security officials have previously called for it to be banned as a terrorist organisation.

Hours before the attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to establish a “national guard” that would come under the direct authority of the far-right Minister of National Security Ben Gvir in exchange for the leader of Otzma Yehudit supporting his decision to introduce the judicial reform legislation on break

Right-wing protesters block roads and set fire in Jerusalem, March 27, 2023. (Israel Police)

On Monday in Jerusalem, a crowd of right-wing protesters were seen attacking Arab pedestrians who escaped police and rescuers.

A television news crew from Channel 13 was also attacked during the production. Channel 13 reporter Yossi Eli was hospitalized with a broken rib and suspected damage to his spleen while cameraman Avi Cashman suffered a head injury.

Extremists also attacked anti-reform protesters in Tel Aviv.

And far-right activists also attacked and threatened drivers at the entrances to two kibbutz communities because of their belief that residents were against Netanyahu and his government’s attempt to reform the judiciary.

Opposition leaders are urging the government and the police to crack down on violence by government supporters.

In recent weeks Netanyahu has accused the largely peaceful anti-government protesters of violence and plotting political assassinations.

Mass protests have been held for nearly three months against the proposed legislation, which critics say will politicize the court, remove key checks on government power and seriously damage Israel’s democratic character. Proponents of the measures say they will stay judges who they claim have overstepped their bounds.

Netanyahu announced on Monday night that he was temporarily halting the legislation to allow talks.

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