Several thousand protesters called for the embattled prime minister’s resignation during a Saturday night rally in Tel Aviv.
By: WIN Staff
Tel Aviv’s Habima Square was the location selected by anti-Netanyahu protesters on Saturday evening for a demonstration demanding that the incumbent step aside in light of the corruption charges Benjamin Netanyahu faces in three separate cases.
Several thousand protesters gathered for the event according to various Israeli media outlets, united apparently by their desire to see Netanyahu resign immediately, which some view as a key step in the formation of a new government in Israel.
The demonstration follows a pro-Netanyahu rally held on Tuesday night in the same location in Tel Aviv, at which thousands of people rallied in support of the prime minister in what was intended to be a show of strength for the Israeli leader as he battles a corruption indictment and a possible rebellion within his own party.
At the Tuesday rally, Netanyahu ally Micky Zohar, one of the few Likud officials to attend, told the crowd, “We can’t replace the system, but we can change it.”
Culture Minister Miri Regev, another Netanyahu backer, said the protest aimed to “convey a message that the rule of law isn’t above the law.”
With Israel facing a potential third election in less than a year, Netanyahu is seeking to put down any potential rebellion in Likud by rallying his base.
The strong turnout on Tuesday could give Netanyahu a boost in terms of public opinion and against potential rivals in his Likud party as the country appears to be heading toward new elections. Netanyahu has claimed that he is the victim of an attempted “coup” by overzealous police investigators and prosecutors.
As the protest got underway in central Tel Aviv, a crowd of roughly 5,000 people rallied for Netanyahu, hoisting Israeli flags and posters that accused prosecutors of “blackmail” and “threats.” Most of Likud’s senior officials skipped the event.
Only one top official, Gideon Sa’ar, is openly challenging the prime minister, but the silence of others is raising speculation that Netanyahu’s support could be cracking.
The prime minister has been lashing out at police and prosecutors since Israel’s attorney general last Thursday indicted Netanyahu on fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges. His backers have already staged small gatherings supporting him, but Tuesday night’s event was a far larger demonstration.
Speaking at a conference Tuesday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who was appointed by Netanyahu, appeared to take aim at the prime minister’s attacks on the legal system.
The fact that prosecutors “are traveling with security guards just because they fulfilled their duties is unacceptable,” he said. Without mentioning Netanyahu, the attorney general called it “outrageous” that there have been “threats” and “baseless slander” directed at law enforcement following the indictment last week. (World Israel News)
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