Signs that read "No entry for women" and "women over there" were placed on busy Tel Aviv streets Monday morning, causing an uproar among local residents.
A video of the incident was posted on the popular Facebook group “Secret Tel Aviv.” A group of three men disguised as security guards were stationed near the signs and did not allow female pedestrians to pass.
It remains unclear as to who was behind the incident.
The now-viral video drew the ire of Israeli netizens. "This is the reality that awaits us if we don't wake up. It will start with money and loss of rights," one commenter noted.
"They have completely lost their minds... and they talk about democracy," another commenter sarcastically declared.
Others claimed that it was actually a protest demonstration by left-wing activists. "Leftists disguised themselves as Tel Aviv Municipality security guards and directed the movement of people in a way as if there was a 'dark gender separation'. They address tourists in English and scare them," said another person who recorded the incident.
Political polarization in Israel
Hundreds of activists participated in demonstrations against the judicial reform bill in the Knesset on Saturday night. Demonstrations took place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Ra'anana and Kiryat Ono while dressed as characters from the “Handmaid's Tale” book and TV series.
The protest was intended to warn against the transformation of Israel from an egalitarian democracy into a theocracy that separates women and dismisses their rights, as is the storyline in the popular TV show. Protestors draw parallels between the fictional society in the show and the plans of Israel’s newest coalition government, which many have claimed is far-right and does not represent a large section of Israeli society.
Earlier on Shabbat, about a hundred women marched in central Tel Aviv in a silent demonstration culminating in the city's Dizengoff Square.
"This coalition has signed a series of coalition agreements and submitted bills whose meaning for us is one thing - harming women!” said Hadas Regulski, spokesperson of the "Building an Alternative" protest movement. “Our performance, which reflects what can happen here, destabilized the entire country and crossed continents. Thousands of women volunteered because they realized that the life they know is in danger."