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Demonstrators blocking the Ayalon freeway, Tel Aviv, May 3rd 2015
Demonstrators blocking the Ayalon freeway, Tel Aviv, May 3rd 2015

Israel’s Police has been having numerous “black days” recently, from sexual harassments by senior officers to various other criminal offences by other seniors. Nevertheless, yesterday’s events in Tel Aviv are the worst.

Yesterday, the police failed miserably in dealing with the demonstration staged by Israelis of Ethiopian descent.

There was no issue with intelligence. Everybody knew when they will demonstrate, and yet the police was caught with its proverbial pants down. The first mistake was agreeing to the blockage of the Ayalon freeway for hours on both directions. The minister for internal security and the chief of police gave no instructions to reopen this vital transport route within a few minutes of a symbolic closure. There is quite a difference between letting the demonstrators blow off some steam over a real problem, than total mayhem which jeopardized many who got caught in the all commotion.

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The police’s blatant feeble-handedness encourage the demonstrators to make their way to Rabin Square, where they took to throwing all sorts of objects and fire crackers at police men. This, in addition to countless acts which the police should have put a stop to there and then. It hardly takes an expert on police actions to see the forces deployed were well equipped, complete with blue and flashes on their uniform. Yet the police forces at the scene did not receive the proper orders and seemed, well, helpless.

It is simply unacceptable that a relatively small demonstration should paralyze Tel Aviv and effectively the entire center of Israel for quite a few hours.

It was harrowing enough to see the senior police officers on TV, in the framework of the live reports, standing over a raised platform, looking helpless. No one was there to decide enough was enough, that the demonstration crossed all red lines.

Thus, the police received yet another blow to its already shabby image.

This is what you get when the minister for internal security is week, and the police commissioner is even weaker. The TV broadcasts were filled with police officers talking about “a handful” of so called ’troublemakers’ who took over the demonstrations. If they were only “a handful” – why were they not dealt with?

And the protesters – at the beginning they had the full sympathy of the Israelis , but when a legitimate protest gets out of control that sympathy is not so solid anymore.

Arie Egozi i-HLS Editor-in-Chief
Arie Egozi
i-HLS Editor-in-Chief