“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, who he said showed how little difference there was 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, protesters marched past the Damascus Gate, many of them chanting, “The nation of Israel is alive. Some younger marchers could be heard shouting threats at the Palestinians, including “Death to the Arabs!” “
It was their right to be there, several walkers said in interviews.
“We are here for a simple reason: we are celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem,” said Eitan Meir, 32, spokesperson for Im Tirtzu, a group that helped organize the march. In 2013, an Israeli court ruled that the group’s ideology can be compared to 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 new centrist foreign minister, later said the government was right to allow the march, but condemned the protesters’ rhetoric. “It is incomprehensible how it is possible to hold the flag of Israel in your hand and shout ‘Death to the Arabs’ at the same time,” Lapid said. wrote. “It is not Judaism or Israelism, and that is certainly not what our flag represents.”
Prior to the march, the government sent messages of conciliation to Arab leaders in Israel and to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Egypt, which frequently mediates between Israel and Hamas, making it clear that Israel was not seeking escalation. , officials said. New limits on the march included allowing only small, well-guarded groups, mostly teenage girls and women, to pass through the Muslim Quarter in the Old City.