A tank that was used in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 was stolen from the memorial site at Tel Saki in the Golan Heights on Thursday by former IDF soldiers who had served in the war.
The tank was stolen with the intention of using it in a demonstration against the government's judicial reforms, Israel Police reported on Thursday afternoon.
After receiving a report informing them of the theft, police began to conduct a search in the area and located the tank on a trailer near Kibbutz Gadot in the northern Galilee region.
The tank was taken for a protest
The preliminary investigation suggests the tank was taken without a permit, by Yom Kippur War veterans, to be used as a prop in a protest against the government's planned judicial reforms.
The driver of the vehicle and the organizer of the protest were detained for questioning at the police station in Katsrin.
To that end, they put an outsized copy of Israel's declaration of independence on the tank and put their signatures on it as a sign of support for the protest.
Additionally, the word "democracy" was written on the side of the tank.
"Israel Police must act immediately and file charges against those who stole military equipment. The theft of the tank is a direct result of the incitement of Aharon Barak who likened the legal reform to a revolution of tanks," Matan Peleg, chairman of the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu, said in response.
"The radicalization of the opponents of the reform, after they tried to break through the fences of the Knesset this week, is becoming a threat to the future of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The leaders of the protest have the responsibility to call for calming the spirits before the protesters turn to physical violence,'' he added.
The Movement for a Jewish and Democratic State responded: "A protest should also know how to set limits for itself. Desecrating the legacy of the battle while harming the memory of the martyrs of Israel's wars is crossing a red line."
A group of other veterans from the Yom Kippur War announced on Friday morning that they will be suing those who stole the tank.
"Aside from the fact that this was an exhibition for the media and an immoral gimmick with signs as though they represent us soldiers and commanders from that war, the use of the stolen tank that was taken from a memorial site is a crime and the criminals need to face justice," they wrote.
They added that they supported the judicial reform and see it as an opportunity for the country to fight terrorism more effectively.