Anti-corruption demonstrators blocked the entrances to Israel's Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem on Sunday during the cabinet's weekly meeting.
Protesters chained themselves to the gates and prevented ministers’ cars from entering. Most of the ministers entered the building on foot, walking past the demonstrators, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s convoy was brought in through a back entrance.
The cabinet convened at the Foreign Ministry because it has a conference room large enough to accommodate all the ministers while observing coronavirus social distancing rules. After five hours, the ministers left the building and demonstrators released themselves and dispersed. There were no confrontations with police.
One of the demonstrators was Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Haskel. “I served in the Israel Defense Forces for 32 years. The values that accompanied me all my life, first and foremost honesty, credibility and serving by example, are collapsing before my eyes,” he said. “I am fighting for the image of the State of Israel on behalf of my children and grandchildren, and I will continue to struggle for as long as I can stand.”
Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases opened last month at the Jerusalem District Court. One case involves receiving lavish gifts, and two other cases allege legislation and beneficial regulatory treatment in exchange for favorable news coverage. This is the first time Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing a criminal trial.