Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with Justice Minister Yariv Levin, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and a number of other ministers on Thursday morning titled "Restrictions in public space," intended to deal with legal tools to cope with protestors.
Only the meeting itself was confirmed by a source, but its content was reported by Yisrael Hayom.
According to the report, the meeting's intention was to cope with protestors that "cross the limit," and not to "limit legitimate protests." Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara also reportedly participated in the meeting.
The meeting came after a group of protesters against the government's judicial reforms blocked roads and burned tires in front of Levin’s home early on Tuesday morning.
Leaders of the opposition argued that Netanyahu was attempting to limit demonstrations.
Opposition politicians condemn coalition plans
Opposition leader and Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid said, "Netanyahu does not convene a meeting about the high cost of living, does not convene a meeting about mortgages, does not convene a meeting about extortion, does not convene a meeting about personal safety, but convenes a meeting about protests opposite the houses of Knesset members. This is what a government that doesn't care about its citizens but only about itself looks like."
National Unity chairman MK Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter, "During COVID-19, Netanyahu repeatedly wished to apply the quarantine against the protests, some of which were also directed at me. I insisted then that we would not limit them except in extreme situations, and with the approval of the attorney general, because freedom of demonstration is the lifeblood of democracy. It is a fundamental right of every citizen to demonstrate against the government, as long as it is done legally and without violence."
"A state leader who deals with restrictions on political demonstrations - this is conduct reserved for dictatorial regimes. The attorney general and Israel Police commissioner must oppose any involvement of a political party in restricting the freedom of protest and demonstration, alongside their duty to maintain law and public order."
"If there are elected officials who do not know how to deal with public pressure, they are invited to retire from political life," Gantz added.
The "Kaplan Force" protest group responded to this announcement, saying: "This is a direct continuation of the arrests and extraditions of protesters from their homes ... preventing demonstrations against the government because it is unpleasant for [the government] is something found only in dictatorships."
Earlier on Thursday morning, Moran Zer Katzenstein, leader of the judicial reform protest group "Bonot Alternativa" ("Building an Alternative"), was arrested during a demonstration in front of Likud minister May Golan's home in Tel Aviv.
Labor party leader MK Merav Michaeli released a statement on Twitter following Katzenstein's arrest, saying: "Arrest the leader of Bonot Alternativa? Israel Police, are you out of your minds? This is a woman who devotes most of her time to promoting equality for women and protecting women.
"Your role at this time in protecting democracy is critical. You cannot let the evil spirit of Ben Gvir, a convicted felon let me remind you, seep into the ranks of the police. The Israel Police must be neutral and objective. You are not the political police!" Michaeli wrote.