The Knesset Guard and security agencies are preparing for a situation in which a majority will try to storm the parliament building during or after Tuesday’s national election, in what would mirror the January scenes at the U.S. Capitol after for Donald Trump to lose the primary election there.
The situation is one of several that appeared in Knesset Guard ‘s preparations for election day, Channel 13 reported Monday.
The network said the Knesset is setting up a special operating room with the police, Shin Bet security service and the state prosecution to monitor potentially violent or similar incidents in the wake of the Capitol riots.
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The warning will be high during the poll and will reach its peak at 10pm, when voting ends and the polls are published.
Israel is a very young democracy and is widely considered less stable than the US, with political harassment and social movements capable of costing governments. Inside the Knesset can be worse than Congress, with shouting matches and even the rare physical discount, instead of making false laws in the US.
Externally, angry political demonstrations are not heard, and the threat of terrorism is a continuing concern, although one would have to go back nearly 70 years to find a scene that came close to what was seen in Washington in January.
The Knesset Guard has jurisdiction over the actual legislation and the grounds around the building, as well as personal security for members of the Knesset.
The Guard will not respond to the police or the military, but is considered a separate branch of the security forces, under the direct authority of Knesset spokesman, current Likud MK Yariv Levin.
The force is made up of hundreds of armed guards, formally known as users, led by Military Sergeant Shmuel Zubari. (The users who work within the Knesset and from time to time remove annoying or retractable MKs as part of a separate unit.)
According to a Knesset source who spoke to the Israeli Times earlier this year, the Guards worked closely with the police and Shin Bet. Guards receive military training and some come from IDF special forces units.
Even before the riots in Washington, the Guard was training for how to deal with riots and the possible kidnapping of lawyers either from inside the building or the building. somewhere in the gardens, the source said.
The gardens surrounding the Knesset will be a regular venue for large, not usually dangerous displays.
On a regular week, the side passes between the Ministry of Finance and Wohl Rose Park, which is next to the Knesset, hold hundreds and sometimes thousands of people with signs, flags and placards.
Complaints range from calls for reforms to requests for public attention for issues such as workers’ rights, wages for the disabled, or unequal budget allocation for Arab and Druze cities.
In July last year, the Guard came in for criticism for failing to intervene when protesters appearing against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched on the area.
Although protesters did not attempt to break into parliament, some focused on a sculpture of a menorah and a David star in a traffic circle just outside the Knesset which is inside Guard land. , including a young female social worker who removed her shirt while on top of the menorah.
The woman was accused by some of destroying a national symbol and the event highlighted the thin line that the Guards must walk between giving free speech and protection of state symbols.
History of violence (short)
The Knesset building, a squat square structure built in an international style, sits on a hill overlooking Jerusalem surrounded by acres of parkland, making it one of the few non-Israeli government buildings. on the street or built into the neighborhood’s landscape, such as the residences of the Prime Minister and President.
But before 1966, the Israeli parliament sat at Frumin House, in a nondescript building on a busy corner of the city of Jerusalem, and it was there that he witnessed two of the most violent events in its history.
On January 7, 1952, thousands of people gathered outside the building to protest against the government’s decision to enter into a compensation agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany, seven years after the end of the Holocaust.
As lawmakers debated the agreement, a gathering of opponents, led by future prime minister Menachem Begin, grew exponentially. Police installed roadblocks and wire fences, but protesters began throwing stones at the building, including one that hit a window and hit MK Hannan Rubin in the head.
It took five hours before police were able to disperse the angry crowd, and hundreds were arrested.
In 1958, Frumin House was once again attacked by lawyers, when Moshe Duek, a man with a mental disorder, threw a grenade into the building.
Justice Minister Moshe Shapira was seriously injured in the attack. Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and Foreign Minister Golda Meir were also slightly injured.
After the incident, lawyers voted to create a Knesset Guard, first as a division of the police and later as an independent command with its own named command covered by the law.
Most of the protests were recently set up around Paris Square in Jerusalem, outside Netanyahu’s official residence on Balfour Street in central Jerusalem, and the surrounding streets. While protests have seen some conflict between police and demonstrators, they have been largely peaceful.
In the aftermath of the Capitol unrest, some Netanyahu allies, including his Likud party coalition leader Miki Zohar, tried to compare the protesters to pro-Trump supporters in Washington. which stormed the capital, even though no strenuous effort was ever made to break into the police barricade in front of the residence. (Protesters have been breaking barricades in other directions to hold unauthorized marches through the city.)
On Jan. 2, some protesters who arrived earlier than expected for Saturday’s regular protest managed to get through a police blockade and hold a rally near the back of the residence, directing Netanyahus’ security details to the move. to a safer place inside the house. .
The incident was held under wraps, but in the wake of the Washington riots, it was leaked to Israel’s three major news channels on Friday night, in what some saw as a coordinated effort to draw a parallel between both sets of campaigners.
The Shin Bet unit tasked with defending the prime minister claimed there was “no drama,” as reported in the reports, which also said Netanyahu and his wife had been killed. torn to a safe room at the time.
However, police, led by Netanyahu loyalist Minister Amir Ohana, Minister of Public Security, issued a statement saying officials on the ground were concerned that the incident could have “gone unnoticed. control. “