In Tel Aviv, a huge crowd boos Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition
Demonstration against the right-wing coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv
Several tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday evening in Tel Aviv to protest their refusal to the policy of the ruling coalition around Binyamin Netanyahu, of which they fear an anti-democratic drift.
This is the most important demonstration since the swearing in on December 29 of this government which combines right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, the most right-wing in the world. ;history of this country of just over nine million people.
At around 9 p.m., Habima Square in central Tel Aviv was full and the crowd overflowed into the adjacent streets, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalists on the spot.
In the absence of official estimates, several media reported that 80,000 protesters had gathered there, citing police sources.
Smaller gatherings were held simultaneously in Jerusalem, where about a thousand protesters gathered outside the residence of Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Mr. Netanyahu, according to local media, as well as in Haifa, the major city in the north of the country .
The demonstrators were responding to the call of an anti-corruption organization around slogans calling for saving democracy and preventing the overthrow of the political regime in force in Israel since its creation in 1948.
Center and left parties as well as the alliance of Arab parties Hadash-Ta'al have called on Israelis to demonstrate in particular against the justice reform presented on January 4 by the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, prosecuted in several cases of alleged corruption.
They also demand the resignation of the head of government because of these affairs.
Protesters in Habima Square in Tel Aviv
To this are added other disgruntled people: opponents of Israeli colonization in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory, or LGBTQ defense movements worried about the presence in government of openly homophobic ministers.
In Habima Square, the atmosphere was good-natured. Many Israelis had come with their families despite the rain and the demonstrators chanted their slogans under a sea of umbrellas, noted an AFP journalist.
Several political figures, including Labor Party leader Meirav Michaeli, former Defense Minister Benny Gantz and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni were present.
The situation is worrying and frightening, said Aya Tal, 22, who works in high technology.
“We want take away our rights. It scares me to tell myself that we let things happen in silence […]. We have to unite.
—Aya Tal, Protester
The signs held up by the demonstrators reflected the diversity of demands: The time has come to bring down the dictator, Government of shame, There is no democracy with the occupation, Bibi does not want of democracy, we don't need fascists in the Knesset, You will love the other as yourself, written in Hebrew and Arabic.
But it& #x27;is the slogan Democracy, democracy that came up most often.
The public will not accept […] the destruction of the values that are the foundation of our system, said former Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia speaking from the podium.
We are at a fateful moment for the moral future of Israel, she added.
In l& #x27;without a formal written constitution, the judiciary is the only one in Israel able to control the government and safeguard individual rights.
Critics of the judicial reform say it would grant unlimited control to the prime minister, thus endangering Israeli democracy as it has existed since 1948. They say they fear a drift towards illiberal democracy.
From July 2020 to June 2021, the Black Flag Movement had supported a long-running protest campaign against Mr. Netanyahu to demand his resignation over the corruption scandals in which he is embroiled.< /p>
Leader of the Likud, the great party of the Israeli right, and holder of the record of longevity at the head of the Israeli government, Mr. Netanyahu was ousted from power in 2021 by an electoral coalition heteroclite which will have lasted less than a year.
At the end of December, he took the head of a new government following the legislative elections of November , the fifth in four years, the results of which bear witness to the fragmentation of the #x27;electorate and internal divisions of society.