The detention of Amir Haskel, a retired IDF brigadier-general, at a protest on Friday night has sparked an active debate about the rights of demonstrators.Haskel’s supporters claim he was targeted for arrest because of his role leading a “black flag” anti-corruption protest outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. Haskel was released on Saturday night, along with two other protesters, after Judge Orna Sandler-Eytan rejected the police’s request to ban the three from Jerusalem for 15 days, ruling that it would be a “disproportionate step” and that “the right to demonstrate is a fundamental right in a democratic state.”The full circumstances surrounding Haskel’s arrest are still being investigated, and we welcome acting police chief Motti Cohen’s statement “We will draw conclusions” even while maintaining “There is no substitute for commanders’ discretion.”Police originally said Haskel was detained for obstructing traffic. Although it appears that he was on the sidewalk at the time of his detention, as one of the organizers of the protest, he was ultimately responsible for making sure the demonstrators did not disturb the public order.Similarly, if there was a police permit for the demonstration, then Haskel as an organizer should have made sure the protesters abided by its terms, and if the demonstration was held without a permit, then it was an illegal gathering. A police permit is not a political statement but a means to maintain the difficult balance between allowing protesters to make their voices heard and preventing the disruption of life – and possible endangering of lives – that occurs when main roads are blocked.On Saturday night, another rally was held in the same spot to protest both the prime minister’s alleged corruption and the arrests of Haskel, Gil Danieli and Saadi Ben-Sheetrit.After leaving the courtroom, Haskel declared: “Nobody will stop us from demonstrating, so long as we do so under the [health] guidelines.” He went on to say, “The whole country is filled with flammable fumes. If my arrest sparked something, it was worth it.”This, however, is a problematic statement. Haskel has the right to demonstrate and the right to freedom of speech, but here he seems to be trying to ignite flames that could quickly get out of control.“Freedom of demonstration is important,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. “I do not interfere with police decisions, but the condemnation of violators of the law should be equal on all sides of the political map.”There must be room for legitimate protest – Right and Left. The police must uphold this right. However, protesters must also take measures to stick within the boundaries of lawful protest.The atmosphere sweeping through the United States today in which the police are becoming targets for attack is not one we want to import.Haskel, with his former record as a senior Israel Air Force officer, quickly turned into the symbol of the protest, but he must use this standing wisely.There is no evidence that some kind of police conspiracy was behind Friday night’s arrests. Israel is a free country, and there have been many, many demonstrations over the years. Demonstrations are an essential part of democracy. It would be more frightening to live in a country where there are no protests than to be inconvenienced by demonstrations. That the country treats the right to demonstrate seriously can be seen in the waiver, in the coronavirus prevention measures, permitting demonstrations within established health guidelines. In fact, the “black flag” movement was able to hold mass protests at a time when synagogues and other places of worship were still closed.Haskel’s detention needs to be addressed seriously, but not only the police need to draw conclusions. Protesters, too, must remember that it is legitimate to protest, but the protest itself needs to stick within the confines of the law.The purpose of any political demonstration is to make a statement. The job of the police is to allow that statement to be made, while protecting the public.