Photo Credit: Maayan Berrerbi / TPS
Religious Zionism chairperson and MK Bezalel Smotrich took part in the Jerusalem Flag Dance Parade. June 15, 2021

Thousands of joyous marchers paraded through the streets of Jerusalem waving Israeli flags, singing and dancing as they headed towards the gates of the Old City. They reached the Damascus Gate at around 7 pm and then continued on towards the Jaffa Gate about half an hour later. They entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate and then proceeded through various quarters of the Old City before the triumphant arrival at the Western Wall, where they danced and sang and prayed before concluding the event.

Jerusalem Flag Dance Parade marchers celebrate at the Western Wall. June 15 2021
Marchers in the Jerusalem Flag Dance Parade begin to arrive at the Western Wall, the final stop on the march. June 15 2021

Some 2.400 Israel and Jerusalem police officers were deployed Tuesday to secure the thousands of parade participants in the annual event.

Advertisement



Once marchers reached the Damascus Gate at around 7 pm, despite the best efforts of Israel and Jerusalem District Police clashes broke out between the marchers who carried Israeli flags and Arab youths waving Palestinian Authority flags. Two police officers sustained minor injuries in the clashes.

Israeli Arab MKs: Jerusalem Flag Dance Marchers ‘Attempt to Inflame Region’

Police had cleared out extraneous spectators and would-be rioters prior to the event from around the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City and in streets close to the route of the parade in an effort to prevent further violence.

In the Jerusalem neighborhoods near the Old City, at least 17 people were hurt in clashes with the police, with 33 arrests reported, according to Haaretz. Most sustained mild injuries. Three rioters were evacuated to a hospital.

At the end of the route, the parade concludes with a celebration at the Western Wall complete with singing, dancing and prayers to mark the reunification of the eternal Jewish capital in 1967.

Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir both took part in the parade. Knesset members Orit Strook (Religious Zionism), Ofir Sofer (Likud) and May Golan (Likud) were also seen by reporters at the parade.

Jerusalem Flag Dance Parade, June 15 2021

Numerous Israeli Arab communities sent buses filled with more would-be rioters to cause further conflict at the parade in response to a call by the Hamas terrorist organization on Sunday for a “Day of Rage” to confront the marchers in a “day of mobilization…towards Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a day of anger and defiance of the occupier.”

One bus making its way to Jerusalem from the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm was stopped by police before it could reach the capital. However, other buses departed for the same destination.

Likewise, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization issued a statement Tuesday warning it will respond with “full force to the provocations of the settlers in the Holy City,” calling for Arabs to gather in areas where marchers are expected to pass, and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Despite the terror organizations’ plans and proclamations of “rage” both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad informed Egyptian mediators that terrorists in Gaza do not intend to “escalate” in response to the Flag Dance Parade. The words did not match the actions on the ground, however.

The parade which began at 5:30 pm was preceded by a day-long barrage of incendiary balloons launched from Gaza at southern Israel by arson terrorists.

At least 25 fires were started in Israeli agricultural fields and other areas near the Gaza border, with the so-called “Night Confusion Units” in Gaza announcing they would resume operations on Tuesday night. Those “operations” involve loud riots, explosives and fires set along the border by the terrorists during the hours of darkness.

25 Fires in Southern Israel Started by Gaza Arson Terror Balloons
At least 25 fires were started in Israeli agricultural fields and other areas near the Gaza border, with the so-called “Night Confusion Units” in Gaza announcing they would resume operations on Tuesday night. Those “operations” involve loud riots, explosives and fires set along the border by the terrorists during the hours of darkness.

An Arabic-language user on the Twitter social networking site posted photos of Arab buses being stopped on their way to the capital and wrote in Arabic: “Now the Israeli occupation forces are blocking the road in front of buses that started from Umm al-Fahm inside the occupied Palestinian territories towards Jerusalem to participate in confronting the Flags March and are trying to prevent them from reaching the holy city.”

In response to the multiple threats from Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev told reporters on Monday, “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel. In a democracy it is permissible and important to demonstrate as long as it is according to the law and in our case according to the rules set by the police and that is how we will act.”

The IDF deployed Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries in strategic areas throughout the country in preparation for any possible rocket attack that might be launched from Gaza, and remains on high alert.

Advertisement

SHARE
Previous article25 Fires in Southern Israel Started by Gaza Arson Terror Balloons
Next articleIsraeli Arab MKs: Jerusalem Flag Dance Marchers ‘Attempt to Inflame Region’
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.