The Israeli police clashed with antigovernment protesters outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem overnight, on the third day of demonstrations calling for early elections and his ouster.

The chaotic scenes drew an appeal for calm and unity from Mr. Netanyahu’s chief rival, Benny Gantz, on Wednesday morning.

“We must not accept violence from any side, we must not accept ignoring police instructions and breaking barriers as we saw last night in Jerusalem,” he wrote on X. “A protest is legitimate, the pain is also understandable, but the law and the rules of the game must be respected.”

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Jerusalem since Sunday, when a planned four-day antigovernment protest began outside Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset. Many protesters have camped out in tents outside the Knesset, where the demonstrations have swelled each evening.

The protest and an authorized march started peacefully on Tuesday night but then turned into what the Israeli police force called an unbridled “riot.” It said in a statement that hundreds of people had tried to break through barriers near Mr. Netanyahu’s house but were blocked by police officers.

Dozens of people caused disorder in the street afterward, the police said, forcing officers to deploy riot control measures. Five people were arrested and one officer was injured in the melee, the police force added.

Photographs of the scene showed that the police used water cannons to disperse protesters, many of whom carried Israeli flags.

There was no immediate comment about the latest protest from Mr. Netanyahu, who earlier on Tuesday was released from the hospital where he had been recovering from surgery to treat a hernia.

Many of the protesters accuse Mr. Netanyahu of prioritizing his political survival over the broader interests of the Israeli people and hold him responsible for his government’s failure to prevent the Oct. 7 attack led by Hamas. He also has been accused of not doing enough to bring home the hostages held by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza.

Posters bearing the names and faces of the hostages have been ever-present at the protests, along with signs and banners reading “Bring Them Home.”

Many Israelis have refrained from protesting the government during the war. While this week’s protests have been some of the most significant demonstrations against Mr. Netanyahu’s government since the war began, the crowds have appeared smaller than those at the demonstrations last year at the peak of a wave of antigovernment protests, which the prime minister’s coalition survived.

Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.


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