Thousands March in Tel Aviv in Protest of Incitement Against Rivlin, Leftist NGOs

Organizers of Tel Aviv demonstration call on Israel to defend civil society, Netanyahu to speak out against inflammatory remarks.

Thousands march in Tel Aviv in protest of incitement against President Reuven Rivlin and left-wing NGOs, December 19, 2015.
Moti Milrod

3,000 demonstrators marched throughout Tel Aviv Saturday night, denouncing the incitement against President Reuven Rivlin and human rights groups, including Breaking the Silence.

The march began at Jabotinsky House on King George Street, before heading toward Rabin Square. The event's organizers called on supporters to show up at the march, writing on Facebook: "[We are opposed to] the incitement against the president, the campaign against civic society and human rights groups, the personal persecution of individuals, the legislation of laws restricting non-profit groups and the condoning of violence against them.”

The organizers also called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak out clearly against such inflammatory expressions. “Netanyahu is responsible and we haven’t heard a word from him attempting to calm this dangerous situation,” they wrote.

Breaking the Silence was at the center of controversy this week. President Rivlin was criticized by cabinet members for his participation in the Haaretz conference in New York, which was also attended by Breaking the Silence members. On the same day, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on his Twitter account that he was prohibiting Breaking the Silence members from interacting with soldiers. Two days later the right-wing non-profit group “Im Tirtzu” put up a video in which four leftist activists are depicted as “moles” who defend terrorists and Education Minister Naftali Bennet ordered the group banned from schools.