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Police Weigh Next Moves as Israeli Protests Take Dark Turn

Israeli police are reportedly weighing a crackdown on street demonstrations that began months ago with an older cohort repulsed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and allegations of corruption, but which have since morphed into street theater thanks to younger people adversely affected by Netanyahu’s coronavirus policies. The drop in age has brought out young, disaffected Israelis who are more willing to provoke police, while their presence, in turn, has attracted far-right-wing soccer hooligans who think nothing of smashing cola bottles over the heads of those they deride as “leftist rags.” All of this has dragged what had been angry yet orderly rallies down to the realm of plain and simple street violence focused mostly on Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem outside Netanyahu’s official residence. Police are bringing in reinforcements for a particularly large rally planned for Thursday evening at the latter venue, and say they will be deploying more plain-clothes cops to mingle with demonstrators in an effort to identify those they feel could end up provoking more violence.