Tens of Thousands Expected to Attend anti-Netanyahu Rally on Saturday

Former Mossad chiefs Meir Dagan and Amiram Levin among the speakers, along with war widow whose husband died in last summer’s Gaza conflict.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan.Credit: Alon Ron
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

A rally seeking change in Israel’s leadership is expected to attract tens of thousands to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday night.

Former GOC Northern Command and deputy Mossad chief Amiram Levin is among the speakers at “Israel Wants Change,” and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan announced last week that he will also speak. Michal Kesten-Keidar – the widow of Col. Dolev Keidar, who was killed in last summer’s war in Gaza – will also address the rally.

The rally, commencing at 7:30 P.M., is organized by the One Million Hands movement. It is expected to draw people from the center and left of the political map who are seeking a change in Israel’s priorities, refocusing on health, education, housing, wages, the cost of living and the elderly.

The organizers and key speakers say the rally will be about expressing support for a return to a way of life that is normal and sane, to a life with dignity and peace between Israel and its neighbors.

“If someone doesn’t care if there are wars, why should he care about the cost of living? I do not accept the claim that there is no one to vote for so don’t vote, or the claim that the Israeli public is fated to live with war. The leadership has responsibility to those combat soldiers and a responsibility to prevent the killing,” said Kesten-Keidar.

Levin, who was one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commanders in the Israel Defense Forces, said, “When the prime minister is in the United States he is the leader of all of us, but the little that he said in Congress would have better been said privately in the Oval Office – then there might have been a chance to exert influence.”

Speaking last week at a press conference called by Commanders for Israel’s Security, a movement of which he is a member, Levin added, “The rule of one people over another makes the strongest and most moral army in the world immoral and weak. Israel must take back the initiative, set its final borders to ensure security and a solid Jewish majority. Anyone who is afraid to lead the initiative to diplomatic and security arrangements in the region will, in the end, give it all up, down to the last millimeter. Only initiative can keep some of the territory and settlement in our hands.”

Dagan also criticized Netanyahu. “As someone who has served the country for 45 years in security posts, including during some of its hardest hours, I feel we are at a critical period for our future and security,” he said. “I have no personal interest in the prime minister, his wife, his expenses and his way of life. I am talking about the policy he leads. It is a destructive policy for the future and security of Israel. And as someone who raised children here and is now raising grandchildren here, and who believes with all his heart in the Zionist dream, I feel there is a danger to the continued existence of this dream, and that is why I will come to speak.”

Among the organizations taking part are the Kibbutz Movement; a group of combat soldiers who led the crossing of the Suez Canal in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the Movement for the Future of the Western Negev; representatives of factory workers who recently lost their jobs; and residents of the Gaza border area.

Seventeen thousand people have so far confirmed their attendance on the rally’s official Facebook page.

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