Israelis mount their own COVID-19 'Freedom Convoy'

Dozens of vehicles made their way to the Knesset building in Jerusalem.

 A car, which is part of an Israeli "Freedom Convoy", displays an Israeli flag adorned with red maple leaves as it heads to Jerusalem to protest against restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shoresh near Jerusalem, February 14, 2022. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A car, which is part of an Israeli "Freedom Convoy", displays an Israeli flag adorned with red maple leaves as it heads to Jerusalem to protest against restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shoresh near Jerusalem, February 14, 2022.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

An Israeli protest convoy inspired by demonstrations in Canada against coronavirus restrictions drove along the main highway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Monday.

Dozens of vehicles made their way to the parliament building in Jerusalem from a meeting point about mid-way between the two cities.

Other protesters stood on overpasses and at intersections on the highway as the so-called "Freedom Convoy," with some vehicles flying Israeli and Canadian flags, drove by.

"Freedom doesn't look like this," read one sign, showing a picture of a girl in a mask.

Outside parliament, protesters sounded horns and beat drums, and called for pandemic restrictions to be lifted.

"We are all gathered here for freedom. Because for two years already, all this world is going mad because of all the mandates and all the things that don't let us live as free as we are born," said Jonathan Deporto, 39.

 Children hold signs which read ''freedom doesn't look like this'' as part of a protest before heading to Jerusalem as part of an Israeli ''Freedom Convoy'', to protest against restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Latrun, Israel, February 14, 2022. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS) Children hold signs which read ''freedom doesn't look like this'' as part of a protest before heading to Jerusalem as part of an Israeli ''Freedom Convoy'', to protest against restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Latrun, Israel, February 14, 2022. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

In recent weeks, Israel has rolled back requirements to show proof of vaccination at restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and hotels to coincide with a slowdown in daily infections from the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

But masks are still mandatory in public indoor spaces, including schools, shops and medical institutions.

In Canada, the "Freedom Convoy" protests started in the capital Ottawa last month led by truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers. Similar protests took place in France over the weekend.