Anti-Netanyahu Protests, Police Clash in Tel Aviv as Calls to Investigate Corruption Persist

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Protesters at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, November 19, 2020.
Protesters at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, November 19, 2020.Credit: Moti Milrod

Protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took place on Thursday at intersections, squares and bridges across Israel for the 22nd week in a row, and protesters marched in Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba, Holon and Ra'anana. 

In Tel Aviv, about 200 people took part in a demonstration against the coronavirus regulations at Habima Square in the city. Several hundred demonstrators, some members of youth protest movements, later arrived and marched toward the heart of the city carrying flags and several mock submarines – a jab at the so-called "submarine affair." Some reported that eggs were thrown at them.

At one point the demonstrators tried to break through police barriers using the inflatable submarine and the police deflated it, causing clashes to break out. 

In Kfar Saba, about 300 demonstrators marched toward a local mall, carrying an inflatable submarine and pink flags and chanting "the protest cannot be stopped." 

On several bridges across the country, the demonstrators hung signs counting the number of days until the resumption of the prime minister's trial.

Protesters have regularly demonstrated outside the prime minister's official residence on Jerusalem's Balfour Street, as well as his private residence in Caesarea for months.

In addition, weekly protests have been taking place in major cities and on bridges, squares and interchanges nationwide, calling for Netanyahu's resignation and demanding that he step down in light of his indictments in three corruption cases.

Earlier on Thursday, a prominent Israeli activist in the Crime Minister protest movement was condemned by lawmakers after comparing Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler.

Anti-Netanyahu protesters at moshav Beit She'arim, November 19, 2020.

“In the 1930's there was a dictator in Germany who oppressed the Jews. He behaved just like you. He divided, incited and destroyed,” Sadi Ben Shitrit said on Wednesday at a demonstration outside Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha'ayin.

Ben Shitrit said Hitler “Erased the parliament, destroyed the courts and terrorized the judges” and that Netanyahu was acting similarly.

"There are no words to describe you, the revulsion, the disgust and the recoiling we feel towards you. You are the most hatred prime minister here ever. There is no forgiveness for what you have done,” he added.

The Crime Minister group, which demands that the prime minister step down in light of his criminal indictments, said in response that “the Israeli police are not the Gestapo and Netanyahu isn’t Hitler.”

The group called on Israelis "not to fall into the inciting and divisive discourse" of Netanyahu and his footsoldiers, "which leads to violence against protesters, persecution of gatekeepers and members of the media and the debasement of fallen IDF soldiers."

The Black Flag movement, another anti-Netanyahu movement, said Ben Shitrit’s remarks “are worthy of strong condemnation.”

On Wednesday, Haaretz reported that the police are joining WhatsApp groups used by anti-Netanyahu protesters in order to gather information on them, law enforcement sources say. 

Also on Wednesday, about fifteen Netanyahu supporters protested outside the home of the Farkash family, who are neighbors of the prime minister in Caesarea, on Tuesday, for hosting anti-Netanyahu activists on their roof.

Last week, protesters also marched outside an apartment owned by the prime minister on Jerusalem's Haportsim Street to his official residence. Demonstrators from the culture sector, who have been hard-hit by the coronavirus regulations, erected a "Trojan Horse" installation outside the residence, where the crowd has gathered.

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