The Jerusalem Police are completing their preparations for the controversial Flag March, which will take place in the capital on Thursday under heavy police security.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s orbit said that he is expected to participate in the procession. In addition to the Flag March, the police have approved an additional march that will take place during the event.
As part of the police preparations for Jerusalem Day, thousands of police officers are expected to be deployed in the capital to secure the marchers who are expected to pass through several friction points in the Old City, including the Damascus Gate and the Hagai Street.
Meanwhile, the police have approved an additional march organized by the "Israel Forever" movement, composed of French immigrants and Zionist activists. The march is expected to be attended by Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer from the Religious Zionist Party, Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee MK Yossi Taieb from Shas, and other members of parliament.
At this stage, the Jerusalem Police have not identified any exceptional incitement calls on social media calling to confrontations with the police. One of the scenarios considered as part of the police preparations is the possibility of rocket fire, as occurred in 2021. However, police officials estimate that the likelihood of such a threat materializing is low, but it is still taken into account.
Last week, amid the rocket fire toward the south during Operation Shield and Arrow, the Jerusalem Police issued a statement stating that the traditional march scheduled for Jerusalem Day this year will proceed along its usual route, including through the Damascus Gate.
The police noted that "over two thousand officers will be deployed in preparation for the Flag March and during it. The police will ensure the security of the crowd and facilitate the movement of pedestrians and vehicles in the area, particularly in the vicinity of the Old City."
The police further emphasized that "the purpose of the operation is to maintain a normal way of life as much as possible, allowing both march participants and the general public, including pedestrians and worshippers of all faiths, to reach their destinations and desired areas, while preventing any incidents of friction and violence of any kind."
The Flag March, also known as the "Flag Dance," takes place every year on Jerusalem Day to celebrate the reunification of the city in the 1967 Six-Day War. The parade is associated with the religious Zionist movement, and each year it is also exploited by extremist elements to spread racist messages and provoke clashes with Arab residents.
In East Jerusalem, the parade is seen as a provocation and an insult to the Arab population, and terrorist organizations exploit this situation to escalate tensions.
The police have also published the traffic arrangements for the march, which will take place on May 18th. Between 2pm and 7pm, the following streets and main roads will be closed to traffic: Betzalel, King George, Keren Hayesod, Agron, Yitzhak Kariv, King Solomon, Menashe Ben Israel, Hativat Yerusahlaim, Tzanchanim, Hadassah, IDF Tunnel, Haim Bar-Lev in the southbound direction, and Sultan Suleiman in both directions. The streets will be gradually reopened according to the progress of the participants.
Furthermore, during the march, the light rail will not operate at the stations near Zahal Square in both directions. In addition, public transportation in the area will operate on alternative routes.