Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Israeli Police Arresting Jews Protesting Violence Against Palestinians

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Israeli Police Arresting Jews Protesting Violence Against Palestinians Against Draft

Does a video show Israeli police violently arresting Orthodox Jews who are protesting what a claim called "the Palestinian Genocide" -- with police purportedly enforcing new regulations that allow arrests of civilians who say things that "hurt morale"? No, that's not true: This video shows a June 5, 2023, clash between police and Orthodox Jews who were protesting mandatory conscription in the Israel Defense Forces. This video predates the Hamas-Israel conflict, which began on October 7, 2023.

The miscaptioned video (archived here) was posted on X (formerly Twitter) by Lauren Witzke on October 23, 2023 with this caption:

Netanyahu is now arresting Jews in Israel who are protesting the Palestinian genocide. Recently, Netanyahu passed a law that Israelis could not criticize the Netanyahu Administration and that they would be arrested if they said things that 'hurt morale'

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Oct 24 15:28:34 2023 UTC)

The focus of this fact check is the misrepresentation of the protest shown in the video. This fact check will consider an Israeli measure under consideration at the time of writing, which was rumored to give authorities powers to arrest civilians who undermine the morale of Israel's soldiers. This has been denied by Israel's communications minister Shlomo Karhi.

The video included in this post first appeared on Twitter (now rebranded as X) on June 5, 2023 (here and here). The post from the anti-Zionist account Voice of Jews was captioned:

Anti Zionist Orthodox Jews protest today the #Zionist Army draft force, at the entrance to the IOF recruiting office on Rashi Street in #Jerusalem, heavy clashes break out between the protesters and the brutal Zionist occupation forces

The video shows a building on Rashi Street in Jerusalem. The logo of the news website all-world.news appears in the upper left corner. On June 5, 2023, Itamar Cohen, the owner of All World News and a journalist, posted two videos; the first (archived here) showing the scuffle between the protesters and the police, and the second video (archived here) showing the moments that led up to it. Their captions, translated to English by Google, read:

Arrest attempts at a demonstration at the entrance to a recruiting office on Rashi Street in Jerusalem - a policeman pulled out a Taser.

Documenting the moments before the riot: the crowd was angry at the suffocation of the detainee and the threat with a Taser - finally the guy was released.

On October 24, 2023, Cohen reposted the post by Witzke (archived here) including a link to his original post from June with his caption, translated from Hebrew by Google:

Crazy: fake news in the world is celebrating!
They publish my documentation from a demonstration against the conscription as if it were a demonstration against the war in Gaza

Lead Stories reached out to All World News on October 24, 2023, to inquire if there was any follow-up to the situation. They explained that the protest of ultra-Orthodox Haredim was at the entrance of the Israeli Defense Forces recruiting office and lasted about an hour, resulting in the arrests of two people. The videos, which were filmed by their staff photographer, were posted to WhatsApp and Twitter. They explained that this type of incident was rather commonplace, and no article was published on the website.

A June 25, 2023, article in the Times of Israel (archived here) titled "Cabinet shields Haredi youth from military draft, 5 days before exemption law expiry" explains the situation regarding the conscription law deferments for religious scholars:

The government on Sunday approved a decision enabling the military to continue excusing ultra-Orthodox Israelis from the IDF draft, five days before the current exemption framework expires.

According to the text of the decision, the cabinet instructs Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to order the Israel Defense Forces to not enforce conscription within the community until March 31, 2024, by which time the government plans to have finalized a new enlistment law.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the 2023 Hamas-Israel crisis can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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