Thousands Protest For, and Against, Netanyahu

YERUSHALAYIM -
Supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu show their support outside the PM’s residence in Yerushalayim on Motzoei Shabbos. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Thousands of Israelis on Motzoei Shabbos demonstrated both in favor and against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, with supporters saying that they would back him throughout his legal issues, and opponents demanding that he step down immediately. In some cases, pro- and anti-Netanyahu groups faced off, hurling insults at each other.

One such demonstration took place outside the Habimah Theater in Tel Aviv. Some 800 people attended an anti-Netanyahu demonstration there, organized by the Democratic Camp. The demonstration was led by MK Stav Shafir, who said that “Netanyahu has dragged the country through a cement mixer of hatred and corruption. Now that everything has been revealed, he threatens to take the country down with him.” Her comments were punctuated by catcalls from pro-Netanyahu demonstrators, who attempted to shout her down.

Hundreds also gathered outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Yerushalayim in a spontaneous show of support for the prime minister. Shouting pro-Netanyahu sentiments and slogans, the group attempted to push through the gates into the compound, and were held off by security guards. But eventually the group got its wish – Netanyahu emerged to thank the demonstrators for their support. “Thank you for coming, I am deeply grateful,” he told the crowd of over 1,000. “I have a special request of you, to attend a rally in Tel Aviv called for Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, in Kiryat Bialk outside Haifa, over 2,000 people gathered for a pro-Netanyahu demonstration, even though police announced that it did not have a permit. The demonstrators decried the “attempted coup” that Netanyahu has accused the State Prosecutor’s Office of undertaking to remove him from office. Police initially attempted to disperse the demonstrators, but then backed off.