Thousands Protest in Tel Aviv ‘to Shield Democracy’ From Netanyahu

TEL AVIV (dpa/TNS) -
Israelis take part in a demonstration held by Opposition parties including Blue and White and Meretz, called “Protective Wall for Democracy” outside the Tel Aviv Museum on May 25, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Thousands demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against efforts to advance legislation that would grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution as he faces indictment for corruption.

The protest was led by opposition parties Blue and White, Labour and Meretz, in collaboration with civil rights groups under the banner “defensive shield for democracy.”

“We won’t let Netanyahu drag Israel into dangerous Turkish-style legislation in which the ruler is above the law,” the event organizers wrote on social media.

Earlier in the week, a member of PM Netanyhau’s right-wing Likud Party submitted legislation that aims to grant Netanyahu immunity from prosecution.

According to media reports, Netanyahu also seeks to pass a law that would allow parliament to override rulings made by the High Court of Justice.

PM Netanyahu was tasked with forming the next government following his victory in the April 9 general elections. He appears to be struggling to cobble together a coalition as his May 29 deadline looms, and last week he accused potential partners of making unrealistic demands.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said at the end of February that he intends to press charges against Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a hearing. Netanyahu denies all allegations against him.