Israel’s new government, barely a day old, will face its first significant challenge Tuesday evening when thousands of religious hard-right celebrants arrive in Jerusalem to stage a march through the powder-keg streets and alleys of the Old City. The Flag March, condemned by the Israeli left and the Arab world as a provocation against the capital’s Palestinian residents, was postponed last week by the previous Netanyahu government and could turn into an earlier-than-expected landmine threatening the stability of Naftali Bennett’s fragile coalition, which includes an Islamist party. Heavy police presence was felt throughout the day on the streets of Jerusalem after new Public Security Minister Omer Barlev announced that he had reviewed security arrangements and decided to approve the event. The demonstrators’ initial plans, of marching through the extremely volatile Damascus Gate and Muslim Quarter, were rerouted by law enforcement. The controversial walk will end at the Western Wall, where a mass prayer rally will be held.
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