A man was arrested after allegedly trying to run over demonstrators protesting against the new government's planned judicial reform in Beersheba on Tuesday, according to Israel Police. No injuries were reported in the incident.
One of the protesters at the scene told Walla news that the driver shouted "anarchists, you ruined the state."
Another protester named Daniel Guy Tsabari told Kan "We were standing on the bike path, and suddenly a car took a left turn and started yelling at us, 'Leftist anarchists - get out of here.' I waved the Israeli flag, signaled for him to go and he drove up towards the sidewalk. I knocked on his car to get him to stop, and he came and shouted, 'What are you attacking?', then they caught him and the police took him away."
Opposition leader Yair Lapid warned that "The government's incitement will end in blood."
"Today it arrived at the student demonstration led by the Yesh Atid group at Ben-Gurion University. A dangerous ramming attempt by a person who is driven by the intoxication of power and the madness pumped up by Ben-Gvir and Yariv Levin. Miraculously no one was hurt. You will not be able to run over us, you will not be able to run over the country that we love."
Tomer Wiener, chairman of Yesh Atid Youth, stated "The incitement that started with Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir reached Ben-Gurion University today. A few moments ago, I witnessed an attempt in broad daylight to run over demonstrators who demonstrated against the coup d'état of Netanyahu and his gang. I recommend that the prime minister and the national security minister condemn this horrible attempted murder. But they will not stop us either, we will continue to take to the streets and demonstrate for the State of Israel, for the future generation."
אירוע חריג במהלך הפגנת הסטודנטים בבאר שבע נגד הממשלה: נהג רכב עלה על המדרכה בסמוך למפגינים בצורה מסוכנת, לדבריהם הוא צעק להם "אנרכיסטים" ו-"ניסה לדרוס אותם" - הוא מנגד טוען שזאת לא הייתה כוונתו. המשטרה עצרה אותו. pic.twitter.com/qhjAO7ahTF— ארנולד נטייב (@ArnoldNataev) January 10, 2023
Israel Police stated that the man, a 26-year-old resident of Elad, was transferred for questioning.
In a statement later on Tuesday, the police noted that at the moment there was no suspicion of a ramming attack, but that the man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, reckless driving, assault and threats.
Ben-Gvir calls for arrests at left-wing protests
The incident comes two days after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced that he would direct police to deal harshly with left-wing protesters who block roads or disturb the peace. Referring to a large protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Ben-Gvir stated "I am in favor of demonstrations and freedom of speech, but we also saw severe damage to democracy, incitement against [Justice] Minister Yariv Levin and road blocks.”