Israelis upset about COVID restrictions and what they see as laws infringing on their freedom are taking a cue from Canadian truckers. CBN News went to the streets of Jerusalem to hear what they are saying.
While they may not have blocked bridges or trade, thousands across Israel traveled to Jerusalem for the first day of this protest. Called the Freedom Convoy, the participants are calling for the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. And while it started off small, the numbers grew.
“We are citizens. We care about this country, and we’re fed up with all the craziness here. We decided we want to return our lives to ourselves,” said Danny Batito one of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy.
“We want to cancel the imaginery emergency situation law. We don’t have an emergency situation here,” Batito told CBN News.
Demonstrators want legislation dubbed the “coronavirus law” repealed. Passed in January as part of ending the pandemic state of emergency, it also gives the government power to re-impose restrictions if it deems necessary, including the green pass, which limits access for the unvaccinated.
In a statement, the Knesset’s Constitution Committee Chairman Gilad Kariv said, the law would enable a “transition to a special health situation, in which there’s a more appropriate balance between protecting our fundamental rights and the need to prevent harm to the public’s health.”
Scholar and legal expert, Professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Kohelet Policy Forum, explained why some are wary of the law.
“It’s scary in that it institutionalizes a system for rapidly reimposing COVID restrictions with a sense that the COVID situation is not gone but that we’re going to be in a permanent COVID quasi-emergency that can trigger a COVID emergency right away,” Kontorovich told CBN News.
“It’s not scary in that it in some ways increases Knesset supervision but the question is what’s going to happen in practice,” Kontorovich said.
Commentator Avi Abelow of PulseofIsrael.com and IsraelUnwired.com said the Israeli public doesn’t want the government to have emergency powers to suddenly impose restrictions.
“Many Israelis are waking up and finally being vocal about wanting to get back to a normal where government is not running our lives or our medical information can once again be private, when there’s no more coercion of medical procedures,” Abelow told CBN News.
“Stop coercion. Stop the green vaccine passports. People want to go back to normal. Stop having children wear masks in schools. Stop having to force children to do tests in order to get into schools,” Abelow said.
Moran, who drove his car in the protest from Gi’atayim, said he had come, “for the freedom, for the sake of the future of our children and for today. There is something suspicious about everything that’s going on.”
Motorists came from some 40 different locations. Others stood on bridges, overpasses and along roads cheering them on.
“I’m here to join this movement, which is a movement for freedom. I just want to be counted as one who did something and not just sat at home,” said Ido from Tel Aviv.
“I’m very in favor of democracy in our country. And we’ve lost that completely. We have to fight to return our freedom – for us, for our children to fight against the brainwashing they’re doing against everyone,” said Odelia from Jerusalem.
“The situation in the country is simply, simply lousy. It’s good that you are here today because the media in Israel doesn’t cover these protests,” said Amir, another protestor.
Reuven Doron, an Israeli messianic believer, has been leading a prayer vigil outside the Knesset for months.
“We are here today praying that our government will listen to the cries of the people that our government will take notice from other experts other than their own internal committees and deliberations. But will listen to the bigger story and give the people a break,” Doron told CBN News.
Doron says they’ve been guided in their prayers by Psalm 2:10-12, which says:
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
“The Lord positioned us here between the Kings, our Knesset, the parliament, and the judges of the earth. We are right between the Knesset and the Supreme court interceding and praying for the grace of God, for the wisdom of God, for the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to turn their hearts toward God's agenda and kiss the Son lest he be angry and we perish in the way,” Doron said.
Convoy organizers say they plan to keep up the protest until the coronavirus law is repealed and the rights they feel they have lost are restored.
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