New Israeli Coalition Survives a Test From a Far-Right March

“They open for their people and they close for mine,” said Samer Barusi, a 67-year-old Palestinian living near the route of the march, which he said showed how there was little between the new government and the one it replaced.

“It’s like the difference between Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola,” Mr. Barusi said.

Waving Israeli flags, marchers streamed past Damascus Gate, many of them chanting, “The nation of Israel is alive.” Some younger marchers could be heard shouting threats to Palestinians, including, “Death to Arabs!”

It was their right to be there, several marchers said in interviews.

“We are here for a simple reason: We are celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem,” said Eitan Meir, 32, a spokesperson for Im Tirtzu, a group that helped organize the march. In 2013, an Israeli court ruled that the group’s ideology could be compared to certain aspects of fascism.

“Why should we allow a terrorist organization to dictate what we can do in our capital?” Mr. Meir added.

Yair Lapid, the government’s centrist new foreign minister, later said the government had been right to allow the march to take place, but condemned the marchers’ rhetoric. “It is incomprehensible how it is possible to hold the flag of Israel in hand and yell ‘Death to Arabs’ at the same time,” Mr. Lapid wrote. “That is not Judaism or Israelism, and that certainly isn’t what our flag represents.”

The police were out in force, forcing Palestinian residents away from the route of the march for much of the afternoon, except for people who own or work in shops in the area. Several bystanders were detained by officers. One Palestinian man was filmed being beaten by officers as they cleared the area to make way for the marchers.

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

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