Journalists from KAN and Channel 13, as well as an Arab taxi driver and anti-reform protesters, were assaulted by far-right protesters after a demonstration in support of the judicial reform in Jerusalem on Monday evening.
Tamer Alkilani, a reporter for Makan (KAN's broadcast in Arabic), was pushed around as protesters, some of whom were carrying the flag of the extremist La Familia group, shouted at him "Muhammad is dead," "only Channel 14" and "death to Arabs!"
Yossi Eli, a reporter for Channel 13, was assaulted by protesters as well and was transferred to Hadassah Medical Center after the protesters fractured his ribs and possibly ruptured his spleen. A Channel 13 photographer, Avi Kashman, was hit in the head as well during the attack.
Additionally, during the protest on Monday, teenagers at the demonstration also threatened to "tear apart" a Jerusalem Post journalist who was taking footage of the protest.
What were the reactions to the attack?
The Journalists Association - Jerusalem called on the police to investigate the attacks and prosecute those who harm journalists and freedom of expression.
"We have repeatedly warned in recent days of the disastrous consequences of the incitement against journalists which, unfortunately, also gained momentum in the words the prime minister uttered against the media and its work."Ofra Satat Millo and Miki Klein
"We have repeatedly warned in recent days of the disastrous consequences of the incitement against journalists which, unfortunately, also gained momentum in the words the prime minister uttered against the media and its work," Ofra Satat Millo and Miki Klein, the chairpersons of the Journalists Association - Jerusalem. "We call on Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to make a statement in a clear voice and strongly condemn the serious events tonight!"
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, who spoke at the protest on Monday evening, condemned the attacks, calling for the authorities to exhaust the full extent of the law against those who attack journalists. "This is a red line that no one can cross, ever."
After Yesh Atid MK Naor Shiri expressed outrage at the attacks on journalists during a speech in the Knesset plenum on Tuesday, Likud MK Tali Gottliv shouted at him "this isn't interesting."
The Journalists' Forum, an association of dozens of religious and haredi journalists, condemned the attacks on the journalists, but added that "the forum condemns the silence of our journalist friends and various politicians, when it comes to violence against religious and haredi journalists, time after time."
"We support our friend Shirel Nahir Lalum (Channel 14) who was attacked last week, and we wish Yossi Eli a full recovery as well," said the Forum.
Arab taxi driver assaulted by La Familia
Additionally, on Monday evening, an Arab taxi driver named Hamzeh was assaulted by far-right activists, including members of the La Familia group, at a gas station near Gan Sacher.
The taxi driver told KAN Reshet Bet radio on Tuesday that the assailants surrounded his car and began asking him "Are you Arab?"
"I closed the window and called the police because I knew there were a lot of people and it wouldn't end well. They started to hit the car. If I didn't escape I would have died. I tried to escape and got to a place where there were police who helped me," said Hamzeh. "They chased after me. I haven't been able to sleep since yesterday."
On Tuesday, the police arrested a suspect, a 17-year-old resident of Jerusalem, in the attack. When police arrived at the suspect's home, a family member claimed that the suspect was not at home, but an officer noted the suspect attempting to escape from the balcony of his house and he was arrested. The family member was also arrested on suspicion of obstructing an investigation.
Further arrests are expected, according to police.
Additionally, Yuval, a protester against the judicial reform, was assaulted by right-wing protesters in Jerusalem. Yuval told Army Radio that the protesters had their faces covered and were carrying sticks and saw them and shouted "the leftist traitors! Get them! We'll kill them."
The protester added that he and the few protesters with him ran into a construction zone in order to escape.
When asked about the incidents, Berele Cromby, one of the leaders of the right-wing protest, told Army Radio "Why do I have to deal with La Familia? There are leftists who destroyed the Ayalon highway, vandalized infrastructure and destroyed traffic lights - so I should tell every leftist to condemn this? There were also threats from the Left against the Right. You're dealing with the fringes of the fringes of the right-wing demonstrations."
The police and the Shin Bet announced on Tuesday that they arrested three suspects who published a video online expressing an intent to harm anti-judicial reform protesters in Jerusalem. The three had eggs and a gun in their car and said in the video "There are eggs, there are knives, there are weapons. We are on our way to Jerusalem to f*** the..."
The three were arrested while they were taking part in the right-wing pro-reform protest near the Supreme Court on Monday night. One of the three was carrying a weapon that they had a permit for. The three are from Yavneh and the surrounding area.
The three were released to house arrest by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. The police filed an appeal against the decision.
"The security forces will continue to act resolutely against violence, threats and intentions to harm demonstrators, journalists, police officers and any other person," said the police and the Shin Bet.
Police chief vows to improve journalists' safety
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai spoke with the injured journalists and stressed that he takes violence against the media very seriously.
Earlier, he said he would hold discussions on how to improve the safety of journalists in the field.
"The freedom of the press will not be harmed and every complaint regarding violence against journalists and camera crews is handled with the goal of bringing the attacker to justice," Shabtai said. "Protest is a fundamental right in a democratic country, but we have zero tolerance for violence."