Anti-Netanyahu Activists Report Assaults as Hundreds Protest a Month Before Election

Protesters take to the streets in Jerusalem, Caesarea and throughout the country for the 35th week in a row

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Anti-Netanyahu protesters carrying inflatables replicating a coronavirus and a submarine in Jerusalem on Saturday.
Anti-Netanyahu protesters carrying inflatables replicating a coronavirus and a submarine in Jerusalem on Saturday. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

With just over a month to go before Israel's election, hundreds of people gathered on Saturday throughout Israel to protest corruption and the government's coronavirus response, for the 35th week in a row.

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Earlier this month, Netanyahu appeared in court to respond to charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases. He pleaded not guilty.

Protesters gathered at the Strings Bridge in Jerusalem, and marched to the prime minister's official residence in Balfour Street, the epicenter of the protest.

Hundreds more walked through Cesaerea, the upscale coastal resort town where Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence is situated. Like in other weeks, they were joined by many smaller groups at bridges and junctions across the country.

Anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem on Saturday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

At least three incidents were reported of protesters being violently confronted by Netanyahu supporters. 70-year-old Yair Kidan said he was attacked on a bridge in northern Israel. "He tore up our signs, grabbed my phone [...] and hit me with his bike," Kidan said. Two other incidents in central Israel were reported to the police. Last week, more than ten such incidents were reported.

Some of the anti-Netanyahu protest groups are also planning to demonstrate outside Defense Minister Benny Gantz's house next week. They are calling on the Kahol Lavan party leader – who vowed to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the 2020 election but ended up joining his government – to quit the race. "Gantz has betrayed his voters more than once," said one of the protest groups, Kumi Israel. "We won't let that happen again. It's simple: If Gantz doesn't quit, Netanyahu stays."

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, one of the organizers, said: “We won’t give in to the unbearable situation in which the prime minister… holds an entire country hostage in his attempt to evade justice.”

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