Hundreds of Israelis Take to the Streets to Protest Unity Deal Between Netanyahu and Mofaz

Former Kadima head Tzipi Livni says Israel deserves a more principled political system; police make several arrests including journalists.

Over 1,000 people demonstrated on Tuesday night near the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv against the deal struck between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz.

The protest, which took place near where the 2011 summer protest began on Rothschild Boulevard, included waved flags, and chanted slogans such as Bibi, go home.

Tel Aviv demonstration - Hadar Cohen - May 8, 2012
Hadar Cohen

Several politicians spoke to the crowd, among them former Kadima head Tzipi Livni, Isaac Herzog (Labor) Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), and Dov Khenin (Hadash).
Livni, who spoke briefly, said that she was asked to speak by young people who want to fight for the country.

These young people deserve a different form of politics – one of principles and not of survival. This is what the struggle is about, Livni said.

The police, which declared the protest illegal, arrested several people, including journalists, after attempting to prevent demonstrators from marching toward the Likud party headquarters on King George Street in central Tel Aviv.

A protest was also held in Be'er Sheva, where 150 demonstrators held signs and chanted slogans in the Merkaz Hamorim square.

The demonstration was called for on Monday night by the social protest leaders via their Facebook pages.

Tel Aviv demonstration - Hadar Cohen - May 8, 2012
Hadar Cohen

"I and the [other] activists have been flooded with inquiries since this morning," said social protest leader Stav Shaffir. "People are angry, asking, 'What to do? What todo?' People feel betrayed not just that they lied to us twice in 10 days, but that they betrayed us: They created a clenched, unbreakable fist around the policies we disagree with."

"We won't stand by helplessly, we'll oppose this with all our might," she added.

As of Tuesday evening, more than 1,000 people had pledged to attend. Yet two of the most prominent figures from last summer's protests, Daphni Leef and Itzik Shmuli, have not yet agreed to join Shaffir's effort. Leef stated she will skip demonstrations, explaining that she is busy setting up a new social advocacy organization. But her friends said her real reason is that tonight's protests will be politically partisan rather than a broad public movement.

The activists spent hours yesterday phoning Knesset members from both coalition and opposition parties to urge them to attend tonight's demonstrations. Some agreed, but the activists declined to say who.

Read this article in Hebrew