Tens of thousands of demonstrators showed up at the right-wing Freedom March in Tel Aviv Thursday night, to express their support for the government and the judicial reform. Israel’s mainstream media barely covered the event, compared to their full-frontal support over 12 weeks of left-wing demonstrators, even when some of those costumed events barely had a minyan on a street corner. When they did report it, they stressed the few moments of friction during the rally, creating the impression it was violent and unruly. The rally stood a better chance for honest coverage from Iran’s Press TV.
Around 8:30 PM, the protesters broke into the Ayalon Highway and blocked traffic on the south- and north-bound lanes. The police, which all but supported the leftist demonstrators when they did the same, showed a rare evenhandedness and, unlike the cops in other right-wing demonstrations, didn’t bash heads or charged into the crowd with their horses. After two hours, the organizers announced the rally had ended, and the lanes were cleared in an orderly fashion.
At 9:20 PM, dozens of demonstrators gathered on Ayalon Highway for the Ma’ariv prayer.
Many right-wing organizations united around the protesters, including Im Tirtzu, Me’irim, To You Jerusalem, Beyadenu, the movement for governance and democracy, Tekuma 2023, Lavi, Ad Kan, and several more. The motto was: “We are done being second-class citizens, we demand reform in the justice system.”
Police estimated the size of the rally at 50,000, but the Freedom March organizers’ statement started with: “We thank the 100,000 citizens who came out to cry out and demand the correction of the judicial system. We will continue to take to the streets until the will of the people at the ballot box is realized. We will not give up and will not give in to the threats of anarchists and refuseniks. Am Israeli Chai! We call on the citizens to return to their homes and obey the instructions of the police. The march is over and we thank the security forces wholeheartedly for securing the event.”
One righteous man in Sodom, Nir Hasson, wrote in Haaretz Friday morning: “It is evident that most of the participants did not come to the place looking for violence, but out of real pain and a sense of insult. One can perhaps blame the incitement, the toxic discourse of Channel 14, the lies of the prime minister, his environment, and his son – but you cannot argue with pain.”
On the other hand, one could blame the actual source of that pain and insult.