Taking place in the shadow of missile attacks on Israeli towns and bombings in Gaza, the weekly J14 protest saw smallest turnout in over a month
A mostly-silent march and vigil of about 5,000 people was held in Tel Aviv on Saturday night in an effort to continue the “social justice” protests, while also identifying with Thursday’s terror attacks and the continued warfare that has ensured since. Though not part of the “official” message, many protesters called for an immediate ceasefire, condemning both the Israelis attacks on Gaza and the rockets launched on Israeli towns.
People held signs saying: “In solidarity with the South and Gaza” and “Arabs and Jews refuse to be enemies.” Once the demonstration arrived at the beach and people gathered around, some chants were heard calling for a ceasefire, and some skirmishes between right-wing counter protestors and protestors were reported.
One of the tent protest organizers, Stav Shaffir, said in an interview: “We feel a real connection to the south of Israel right now. We know we must continue this protest movement and we cannot give up now. We must stay together and demand a change.”
Fear that the protest wouldn’t survive the recent escalation in violence has been growing for some time. As it entered its 5th week of large-scale protests, the social justice movement experienced internal debates about whether to hold a protest this weekend or not, with calls primarily by the representatives of the National Union of Students declaring they would not take part.
Despite disagreements, the protest organizers insisted the demonstrations must go on, and chose to do a silent march with torches in hand from the Rothschild tent camp to the beach, even as rockets were simultaneously hitting the southern Israeli town of Beer Sheva (where a large protest was held last weekend), claiming the life of one Israeli and injuring two critically. Israel launched several attacks on Gaza over the weekend, where at least 15 people have thus far been killed, among them at least two children. A total of about 70 rockets hit the southern Israel over the weekend. Several more rockets have been fired on Israeli towns on Sunday morning.