December 8, 2023

Violence between Israel and Hamas has led to protests across the U.S., with some cases of demonstrators supporting each side clashing head-to-head.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed in the Hamas attacks, and the Israeli military says 222 people remain hostage in Gaza, according to the Associated Press. The news agency cited the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza as saying that at least 6,546 Palestinians have been killed.

According to one viral video post this week, a group of Orthodox Jewish protesters have joined in similar demonstrations, clashing with police, allegedly for supporting Palestinians.

Israeli protest
Israeli policemen remove a member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community during a protest by the community against their conscription in the centre of Jerusalem on September 29, 2022. A viral video posted this week was used to claim Israeli Orthodox Jews had been taking part in pro-Palestinian demonstration support (Photo by
HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images

The Claim

A post on X, formerly Twitter, by right-wing commentator Lauren Witzke, posted on October 24, 2023, and viewed 277,000 times, included a video that appeared to show an Orthodox Jew being dragged away by police, surrounded by other Orthodox Jews.

Witzke stated: “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'”

The Facts

The video shared by Witzke is not related to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Multiple posts of the same footage were shared online in June this year.

To find out where the footage came from, Newsweek searched the bumper in the top left corner of the video. This led to an Israeli news site,, that uses the same bumper elsewhere in its reporting.

After contacting, Newsweek spoke to Itamar Cohen, who said he was the owner of the website. He said the site has been online for more than five years, and whose audience he described as “right-wing Israelis.”

Cohen called Witzke’s description “fake news”. He said the video was posted via his X and WhatsApp groups on June 5, 2023, the same day he said the footage was captured.

A translation of his X post from June 5, 2023, which included the video, stated: “Arrest attempts at a demonstration at the entrance to a recruiting office on Rashi Street in Jerusalem—a policeman pulled out a Taser.”

Cohen told Newsweek that the video showed a demonstration by a group of Haredi (meaning ultra-Orthodox, Pew states) Jews demonstrating against the recruitment of young people into military service outside an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recruitment office. Two people, he said, were, arrested.

According to think tank and policy group the Israel Policy Forum, Haredi men are de facto exempt from the mandatory Israel Defense Forces or non-military service requirement that applies to all Jewish Israeli citizens. Ultra-orthodox groups have been meeting with the Israeli government this year in an attempt to bring the exemption into law permanently.

A follow-up post by Cohen later the same day stated: “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.” This included a video of what appeared to be the same officer taking the same person who was dragged to the floor in Cohen’s first video toward a police car. The surrounding crowd can be heard shouting what sounds like “Nazi.”

Cohen’s video appears to be the earliest version posted online. Other posts and articles shared the video later.

Further details of the story are not available. Newsweek called the Israeli police who said it refused to speak to journalists. Follow-up questions have been sent via email to an emergency call center contact.

Whatever the full details of the story behind the footage, the claim that it is in any way related to protests over the current violence between Israel and Hamas is incorrect. Newsweek has contacted Lauren Witzke via her X channel for comment.

The Ruling

Misleading Material

Misleading Material.

The video shared by Witzke is not of Israelis protesting the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

It was posted in early June. The owner of a news website, believed to have shot the footage, told Newsweek it was of a protest against recruiting Ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israel Defense Forces. Newsweek has contacted the Israeli police for further information.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check team