During their entire march, organized by La Familia (a group of far-right fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club) and Lehava (a right-wing organization dedicated to preventing the "assimilation" of Jews with non-Jews in Israel), the protesters chanted slogans such as "death to Arabs" and "may your village burn," and looked for Arabs to attack. And indeed, after the protest ended a number of the participants attacked a taxi driver and attempted to attack other Arab passersby.
The main group of protesters, which was controlled by the police, didn't engage in physical violence, but small splinter groups moved toward the city center and began searching for Arabs. They entered stores, asking clerks if Arabs were employed there. They asked employees random questions like "what's the time?" in order to test their accent.
When it seemed that things were calming down and the activists were dispersing, I went back to my home in the nearby neighborhood of Nachlaot. After half an hour I had to go out and buy something in a convenience store at a gas station on Ben-Zvi Boulevard, and saw that the activists were still in the area.
I noticed that some of them had continued "scanning" the area for Arabs, in order to hurt them, as the activists told me themselves. Some of them drove up and down Ben-Zvi Blvd. while waiving the Lehava flag, chanting "death to Arabs" and "Mohammed is dead".
I went into the store. The guy working the night shift was an Arab man in his twenties. The nearby restaurant had three Arab employees. About 15 activists came to the gas station, some wearing Beitar Jerusalem T-shirts, some Lehava shirts. Some other customers were also inside the store at the time.
One of the Lehava activists came into the store, looked at the workers, and loudly asked "Do you employ Arabs here?" A few seconds later, he saw the clerk's nametag and said "So I understand there are Arabs here." He went outside and called his friends over.
The clerk was frightened, and tried to close the store's blinders with a remote control, but they were broken. The glass door also didn't close at first. We helped the store clerk, who was very nervous. At this point, some Lehava activists came to the storefront trying to force the door open, one of them banging on the glass window while shouting at the Arab worker.
We called the police, who came after a few minutes. The Lehava and La Familia activists fled the scene. Some officers questioned the workers, called on them to press charges and emphasized that the attackers could be identified using security camera footage.
The Arab workers from the nearby restaurant ran away, and the store clerk asked the police officers how he could go on working that night. He then called his boss, who told him to lock the doors, and only allow entry to drivers who need to pay for gas, not customers who want to enter and buy groceries.
Among the Jews who were in the store with the Arab workers was a far-right activist named Nadav, who had taken part in the protest and was in the store by happenstance. He wore a shirt with the inscription "Eretz Israel hashlemah" ("Greater Israel"). He calmed the frightened workers, clarifying that he strongly disagreed with the Lehava and La Familia members' attempted assault.
"Let's calm down, it's going to be all right," he told the workers, being calm and courteous. After it was all over, workers thanked him, the other Jews in the store, and the officers. "I felt that he helped me a lot," the clerk told the police officers while pointing at Nadav.
After that, the worker said, "It was very scary. It will be very hard to go on." His supervisor Nazmi said, "It could have ended differently, if he hadn't locked the door he definitely would have ended the night at the hospital." He added, "Until we fix the blinders that lock the store well, workers won't do night shifts here. This isn't the first time, this situation can't go on. Last night hardly any Arabs worked in the city center, anyone who could get out of their shift ahead of the protest, their boss let them leave."
On a personal note: Border Police and police officers in Jerusalem are working around the clock under tremendous pressure these days. Again and again they respond quickly and efficiently to terror attacks. And it's specifically because of this that it was tough hearing one police officer tell of the frustration he felt during the protest.
"We really can't get a moment's rest these days," he said, "one event follows another, it's very sad that so many police officers, including the district commander who came here himself, need to deal with right-wing organizations like La-Familia and Lehava instead of combating terrorism."
The Jerusaem District police said that an investigation has been opened.