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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Dudi Cohen on Sunday morning stressed that battling violence must be a top priority for the police and for Israeli society as a whole, and said that acts of violence against police will be met "with zero tolerance."
"I'm worried about the current situation - both as a citizen and a policeman, this kind of violence is unacceptable and it's clear that fighting it must be a top priority," Cohen said in a joint interview with Army Radio and Israel Radio, on a special day of broadcasts dedicated to battling violence.
"But police forces are only a local and urban solution to violence. The ultimate solution is educational and legal, Israeli society needs to fully back the police," he explained, noting the importance of public support.
Cohen was then asked about police clashes with haredi demonstrators in Jerusalem over the weekend, during protests over the operation of the Carta parking lot on Shabbat.
"Only yesterday we witnessed protesters hurling stones and bottles at police forces. Every Israeli has a right to protest, but all kinds of violence, including calling policemen 'Nazis' and spitting at cops, will be met with zero tolerance," Cohen replied.
Police on Saturday said protests were "noticeably intensified."
Sixteen men were arrested and six police officers were lightly wounded when hundreds of haredi men threw stones and clashed with police on both Friday night and Saturday.
Three of the officers, all of them lightly hurt, were evacuated to hospitals. A female passerby was also lightly injured when protesters threw rocks and shards of glass at her car. She was evacuated to Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem.
Abe Selig contributed to this report