Swarms of protesters overtook Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 3 tonight in response to the resumption of the judicial overhaul process. Response from police and mounted police on horses to overcome protesters. No special units were required to handle the protests.
The evening began with protesters parading through the airport terminal, creating noise with chants as well as waving flags and signs calling for freedom and democracy. Slowly, blue and white flags filled the hall — even before 5:30 — as people attempted to make their way into the airport.
At approximately 5:30, police blocked the doorway, preventing further entrance, in addition to forming lines to herd protesters out of the area. Protesters who made unruly noise were targeted, including those with horns, drums, noise makers, and loudspeakers.
Protesters fled the area, making their way outside where they were joined by thousands of protesters seeking to prevent judicial reform.
Some protesters have been attending protests for 26 straight weeks.
'Protests have changed us'
“The protests have changed us, the protesters,” said Sivan Poledo a professor of computer science. “You undergo some kind of a transformation when you go out every Saturday night. You think about what you stand for, and what’s the limit of legitimate protest.” He’s been protesting since the beginning, alongside family friends.
But that doesn’t stop them. The hours of work have proven worth it thus far - they’re determined to keep going.
Navot and his partner Michal (they’ve asked not to include their last names) have also been protesting for 26 weeks. “We will keep going. (But) we’re tired,” added Navot. “We have put in over 200 hours, but we’re not going to give up.”
The stakes are high for the couple.
“We want to raise children here. And we need to make this country a place (where) we can have girls and not be afraid someone will speak (down) on them in the street because they’re wearing short sleeves,” said Michal.
Another protester, Eyal, fears that the government will eventually create a machine with no opposition: “They’re trying to (gain) much more power than I think they should have,” said Eyal. “They can cancel everything they can choose to do whatever they like and the majority will control everything. The minority will be at risk.”
“it's clear that the government is very determined, very resolved. To continue with this one way or another. We are also resolved to do whatever we can to try to prevent it. I don’t know how it will end,” said Poledo. “I would protest forever if this threat persists.”
It’s not a protest just for the young: We see people over 60 participating.
They’ve fought for their country before — at one time on the battleground — and are willing to do so again, this time on the pavement, waiving their flags high above their heads.
Yair Gelder is one of those individuals. He attended the protest with his wife and family friend.
“We are trying to keep the country democratic and we are trying to keep it safe. And we are trying to do it for our kids, for our future — for everybody,” he said. It’s not just an individual effort. Thousands have come together to preserve Israel’s current judicial system, which they see as historically having worked for them.
“I love this country. I want to keep it democratic. I want to keep it safe. I love it more than anyone else. And this is how I want it to stay and keep it like that.”