Thousands of protestors against the government's proposed judicial reforms are planning to slow traffic at Ben-Gurion International Airport beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday in order to delay Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's expected flight to Rome.
Protest organizers said that they would "drive within the airport slowly but legally."
"The defendant [Netanyahu] and the convicted [Sara Netanyahu], who are trying to create a dictatorship are flying abroad once again, at our expense. Stop the overhaul, or we will stop the country!" the organizers said.
Airports Authority pledges to do all it can to make travel smooth
The Israel Airports Authority said in a statement that it would do "all it could" to enable travelers' flights to depart on schedule, but encouraged travelers to arrive at the airport early and to come via train so as to avoid traffic.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Wednesday that blocking the airport was "anarchy" and he would not allow it.
"I support demonstrations and freedom of expression, but Ben Gurion Airport and main transportation arteries are off limits. There are people who need to go to hospitals, and this is life-threatening," Ben-Gvir said.
Haaretz reports earlier on Wednesday that the prime minister's office requested that Netanyahu and his accompanying entourage travel from Jerusalem to the airport via helicopter so as to avoid the attempt to block his flight.
The protest at Ben-Gurion Airport is one of many other acts of protest as part of a "day of disruption" against the reform, which is set to include marches and protests across the country and outside of Knesset members' houses, as well as demonstrative artistic displays and other events.
A similar "day of disruption" last Wednesday included violence, as protestors attempted to block the Ayalon and other highways, and police officers used force to repel them.
The upcoming day of demonstrations
Thursday's "day of disruption" is expected to involve several distinct protest events across the country, according to information from Restart Israel, a grassroots organization that consolidates and disseminates information about the judicial reform protests.
"It is a civic duty to oppose dictatorship," wrote the Day of Resistance to Dictatorship organizers, "that is the only way to return Israel to the path of democracy. This is a tremendous battle for the independence of the citizens of Israel from the tyranny that will destroy what we have built here for over 70 years. We call on the public to participate in the protests."
Restart Israel created an interactive map detailing the locations of all public demonstrations. The organization pointed out in its material that "there are expected to be protest events that we cannot reveal now." Also, they explained that the protests would most likely result in closed roads and disruptions in transportation. Some businesses may also be closed.
The organization provided an itemized list of events hosted at different locations by different entities:
Large public demonstrations:
- 8 A.M. Parent-child protests will be held across the country
- 8 A.M. Protestors will block the intersection of Mordechai Namir Rd & Yehuda HaMakkabbi St. in Tel Aviv
- 8:30 A.M. Demonstration at Milano Square in Tel Aviv
- 6 P.M. Protest in front of the home of Justice Minister Yariv Levin in Modi'in
- 7 P.M. Demonstration and torch march at Tel Aviv's Habima Square
- 8:45 A.M. Tel Aviv University students will march from Entin Square down Yitzkah Levanon street
- 10 A.M. Bar Ilan University faculty and students will march across the pedestrian bridge over Highway 4
- 12 P.M. Haifa University and the Technion will jointly stage a march from the HaMifrats cable car station to the Check Post Intersection through Histadrut Ave.
- 12 P.M. Students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will march to the Bridge of Strings from the entrance of the Givat Ram campus
Military-led and professional demonstrations:
- 9 A.M. A group of Israeli naval servicepeople from the organization "Sailors to Save Democracy" will power a flotilla of ships up and down the coast around the Haifa port
- 12 P.M. High-tech demonstrations in Tel Aviv's Sarona neighborhood
- 1 P.M. Israeli judges' protest in Tel Aviv's Museum Square
- 2:30 P.M. March of healthcare professionals from Beersheba's Northern Railway Station down through Ben Gurion Gate to Soroka
- 4 P.M. Reservists in Jerusalem will demonstrate in front of Economy Minister Nir Barkat's home